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Full text of "Seven years in Vienna (August, 1907--August, 1914) a record of intrigue"

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Col. Arnold V. Shutter 



{August, \(^o-i— August, 1 9 14) 



Printed in Great Briinin. 






THE emperor's ILLNESS II 


































































From Photographs supplied by Newspaper Illustrations, Ltd. 

The German Emperor and the Emperor of 

Austria driving in Vienna in 1908 . Frontispiece 

The Archduke Francis Ferdinand . . facing page 24 

The Duchess Hohenberg „ 24 

Baron Aehrenthal „ 46 

Prince Max Egon Fiirstenberg ... „ 78 

King Ferdinand of Bulgaria .... „ 114 

King Nikita of Montenegro .... „ 114 

The Prince of Wied ,, 126 

Count Berchtold ,, 168 

Count Tisza , 168 

Archduke Carl Francis Joseph ... ,, 184 

Princess Zita of Parma „ 184 



It was mid-August in 1907. King Edward of 
England, who had been undergoing a " cure " 
at Marienbad, was expected at Ischl, where the 
Austrian Court was in residence. The whole 
place was hung with flags that were put up at 
the last moment, as the " Gem of the Salzkam- 
mergut," as Ischl is often called, is one of the 
wettest spots in the country. The local trains 
brought large numbers of peasants, in their 
picturesque costume, who wanted to take advan- 
tage of the opportunity of seeing the King of 
England. Other " peasants," in badly-fitting 
costumes, also came down in the Vienna night 
express. Their white knees, left bare beneath 
the short leather breeches, plainly showed that 



they were not accustomed to wearing the 
Styrian costume. The peasant girls eyed them 
dubiously; one suggested that a little walnut- 
juice would improve matters, while their little 
brothers whispered " police." The real peasants 
crowded around the station, and watched the 
red carpet being laid, ready for royalty. They 
then turned to see Emperor Francis Joseph 
drive up to the gates. He arrived twenty 
minutes before the train was expected, as 
usual, for being a great stickler for etiquette he 
always feared that some accident or contretemps 
might delay him, and the visitor reach the 
station before the host. He dreaded nothing so 
much as a breach of etiquette or good manners, 
and was willing to take any trouble to avoid 
even the possibility of such a thing. The train 
from Marienbad steamed into the station, the 
monarchs embraced; their intercourse had 
always been most cordial. The King respected 
the simple old man, who had until then guided 
the destinies of his country with great astute- 
ness; while the Emperor of Austria esteemed 
the statesman, for in Austria-Hungary and the 
Balkans King Edward was reckoned as the 
most skilful diplomatist of his time. As the 
Imperial carriage, with the gilt wheels, drove 
through the streets, the people cheered heartily. 


King Edward was the most popular of foreign 
monarchs in Austria, and the minimum of pre- 
cautions were taken for his safety. In spite of 
this the Austrian police, ever watchful, took 
stock of every fresh arrival in the place for days 
before the King appeared. On the morning of 
the visit they ascertained what persons would 
be seated in windows commanding the line of 
route, and carefully watched the houses that 
might harbour anarchist or other assassins. The 
uninitiated suspected nothing of all this. The 
long line of firemen that lined the streets looked 
like members of the local brigade. It was not 
suspected that they were specially trained men, 
who knew how to act and to co-operate at the 
right moment with the " peasants," also mem- 
bers of the same highly-organised force. They 
all stood apparently careless and inattentive. 
Presently a carriage, in which a spare, tall, 
pock-marked man was seated, drove through 
the street. He was the Emperor's private detec- 
tive. His appearance always heralded that of 
the monarchs, and the firemen braced them- 
selves for a combined movement, either to the 
right or left, forwards or backwards, as pre- 
viously arranged. The police behind helped 
with the work, and just as the Imperial carriage 
flashed by, everyone in the crowd pushed for- 

B 2 


ward, sideways, or backwards, as though by 
accident. Any intending assassin would have 
lost his place at the front, and have missed 
the golden opportunity, through this clever 
manoeuvre of the police. These precautions 
were always taken for every Royal visitor, for 
although Emperor Francis Joseph himself was 
accustomed to stroll about the Ischl woods, 
and went hunting in the forests quite 
unattended, he took care that his guests were 
exposed to no risks. 

Everything went off as arranged, although 
there was a strained feeling in the air, partly 
due to the thundery weather. It was known, 
too, that King Edward was on a diplomatic 
tour throughout Europe, and the people knew 
that meetings of monarchs in summer are often 
of great importance, even when they are unac- 
companied by their Ministers. Emperor Francis 
Joseph is practically a despotic monarch, for 
the Austro-Hungarian Constitution exists 
merely on paper. He alone decides the foreign 
policy of the country, and determines whether 
there shall be peace or war. Thus he is in a 
position to make decisions for his country, with- 
out consulting his Ministers. Austria-Hungary 
had long been quiet, almost to the point of stag- 
nation. Her statesmen had been fully occupied 


in paying off the burdens incurred during the 
last war, and were now delighted that, after a 
succession of deficits, they could at length turn 
out Budgets with surpluses at the end of the 
financial year. 

There was trouble with Servia, it is true, 
Austrian machinations had deprived Servia of 
an outlet to the sea. Servia, being a pastoral 
and agricultural country, wished to sell her pro- 
ducts, and Austria, the natural market, was 
closed to her. 

The Austrians, who were very short of meat, 
promised to take over Servian meat, but the 
Hungarian agrarians, or large land-owners, who 
wanted to keep up the prices of their own 
products, managed to prevent this. They 
appointed veterinary surgeons to examine im- 
ported meat; and by unjustly condemning the 
Servian meat at the frontier, they succeeded in 
preventing its import. This line of conduct 
caused much greater discontent among the 
Servs than a downright refusal to admit their 
products would have done. They naturally 
objected to being cheated by their powerful and 
unscrupulous neighbours, and the friction 
caused by the " Servian Pig " question was con- 
tinual. Otherwise the Balkans were strangely, 
almost uncannily, quiet. There were no mas- 


sacres to report, no bands who roamed the 
country and committed depredations. It seemed 
that the two monarchs could have nothing to 
discuss. As the Emperor brought the King 
back to the Hotel Elisabeth in the afternoon, 
the faces of both monarchs could be seen very 
plainly in the blaze of the sun that was pouring 
down with great fierceness. Emperor Francis 
Joseph looked much older than he had done 
that morning. His face was drawn, the fine 
lines on the parchment-like skin were deepened. 
It did not need any unusual acuteness to see 
that something had gone wrong. King Edward 
walked up to his suite of rooms with something 
weary in his step. The Emperor, freed from 
the restraint of the King's presence, returned to 
the Imperial villa, his slight frame shrunken to 
half its usual size, his soldierly bearing gone. 

All Ischl went home to dress for the gala per- 
formance at the tiny Court theatre. It was 
always difficult to get tickets at the bijou theatre 
when members of the Imperial family were ex- 
pected; on the night of King Edward's visit it 
was impossible to obtain them. The police 
excluded all foreigners by careful manipulation. 
By evening it was already known in Ischl that 
the Emperor and the King had quarrelled vio- 
lently. Attendants, posted behind doors, ready 


to spring to attention, overhear many things. 
They could give no details of what the subject 
under discussion had been, but they said that 
Emperor Francis Joseph had lost his temper in 
the presence of a foreign King, and although 
outbursts of this kind were common enough 
within the family, it was an unprecedented thing 
in the presence of a stranger. They knew that 
the occasion had been no ordinary one, and that 
the future policy of the country had been under 

Just as the curtain went up for the perform- 
ance of some light musical comedy, the sort of 
play that is at its very best in Vienna, the 
thunderstorm that had been threatening all day 
long, broke outside. The rain rattled down on 
the roof of the theatre. The real heroine of the 
piece, who had been brought down from the 
capital on purpose, was a dazzlingly beautiful 
woman ; she laughed, danced, and pirouetted all 
over the stage. She was the very embodiment 
of Vienna " cheek." Just at the end of the first 
act — royalty never sees a piece through when 
on State visits — she abruptly turned her back 
towards the Imperial box. She was lightly clad, 
even for the Austrian stage, as she tripped 
laughingly to the front, and carried out her 
instructions. A thrill went through the audience. 


Would the King understand? His British 
phlegm stood him in good stead. He remained 
in his seat, although he was sufficiently 
acquainted with Austrian manners and customs 
to comprehend the somewhat heavy witticism. 
Only when the curtain fell did he rise and leave 
the theatre. " What was the meaning of the 
insult?" asked all Ischl. "What did it 
portend?" They learnt the answer just 
seven years later to the very day. 

The people about the palace discussed the 
incident at the theatre. They understood that 
it was meant as a hint to the King that his 
presence in Austria was not desired, if he came 
to discuss politics. As a private friend and a 
brother monarch he was always welcome. He 
had attempted to show the Emperor that the 
close alliance with Germany was not for the good 
of Europe. Not merely that, but Austria-Hun- 
gary herself would imperil her existence as a 
great Power if she allowed herself to become 
merged in Germany. The aged Emperor, who 
had long been accustomed to depend upon 
Germany for assistance against the Slavs, would 
not listen to the King. He was perhaps aware 
that his policy was wrong, but being obstinate, 
like all the Habsburgs, he would not acknow- 
ledge it. He did not intend to alter his policy 


at the eleventh hour, in any case. If there must 
be a change let his successor see to it. King 
Edward made due allowance for the Emperor's 
age, but it is doubtful whether he ever 
again made any direct effort to turn Austria 
from her fatal path. She stood at the 
parting of the ways. Her Emperor 
chose her destiny that summer day in Ischl. 
Diplomatists and Ambassadors took up the 
King's task; they repeatedly pointed out the 
disastrous consequences of the close alliance 
with Germany. Instead of discussing the 
situation with Italy, Austria-Hungary informed 
Germany of what was happening. Instead 
of keeping the balance equal between 
Italy and Germany, Austria-Hungary really 
concluded a partnership with Germany; the 
Triple Alliance degenerated into a ' Dual 
Alliance that kept up an understanding with 
the third partner. Italy was quick to realise 
this. So long as Russia and France were allied, 
and occupied a position that was a set-off to that 
held by Germany and an Austria that had not 
given up her liberty of action, European peace 
was assured. Great Britain and Italy were not 
bound to their Allies to any great extent. 

The result of the meeting at Ischl soon made 
itself felt. Italian diplomatists began to back 


out of their obligations towards Germany and 
Austria-Hungary. Their policy of " cooling 
down," at first barely perceptible, took iorm 
somewhat later, at the renewal of the Triple 
Alliance, when Italy promised very little in 
return for the many " benefits " heaped upon her 
by Germany. Great Britain, aware of the 
danger of the centre of the European chess- 
board being occupied by one vast State, stretch- 
ing from the North Sea and Baltic to the 
Adriatic, was more inclined to listen to 
advances from France and Russia, and to 
deliberate upon the advantages of a closer con- 
tact with Germany's enemies. The suggestion 
made by France, that Great Britain should 
introduce conscription, prevented the under- 
standing becoming anything more. France 
pointed out the necessity of preparing for an 
aggressive move on the part of Germany, but 
Great Britain would not even consider a propo- 
sition so far from her theories of government as 
was conscription. 



The Austrian Court returned to Vienna as 
soon as the first snows on the mountains 
round Ischl gave warning that the summer 
season was at an end. Emperor Francis 
Joseph, who is a strenuous worker, and carries 
on the business of State daily, whether in 
residence in Vienna or in the country, began 
his life as usual. On certain days of the week 
he held general audiences, and received any- 
one, high or low, aristocrat or peasant, who 
wished to present a petition. He was always 
up at 4 a.m., and had got through most of his 
State duties by 8 a.m., when he began to receive 
Ministers and others. In the month of October 
it was suddenly announced that the Emperor 
was ill. The news caused great consternation, 
as the monarch had never been ill in his life. 
He had been confined to his room for some 


time as a young man after an attempt made on 
his life, when he was stabbed in the neck, 
but he had never had the slightest ailment 
since. His life was carefully regulated by the 
Court physician, Doctor Kerzl, a military 
surgeon, a rough doctor of the old school, 
who had grown old with the Emperor. 
Members of the Imperial family frequently tried 
to have a younger and more up-to-date man 
appointed as Court physician. They con- 
sidered that the Emperor's health was so 
precious that its care ought not to be confided 
to a man who had gained his experience with 
the Army. The Emperor, however, stood firm, 
and the results of the somewhat draconic 
treatment have certainly justified his decision. 
The Emperor sleeps on a camp-bed, eats the 
heavy Vienna food with relish, and is always 
accustomed to drive in an open carriage with- 
out his military cloak. It is probable that he 
took the chill during the drive. 

Specialists were summoned to the Emperor's 
bedside, and they found that the Royal patient 
was suffering from inflammation of the lungs. 
He, however, refused to go to bed. Crowds 
of people went out to the summer palace of 
Schonbrunn, where he was staying, and waited 
under his window until he appeared to reassure 


them, when cheers rang out and echoed along 
the arched corridors beneath the palace. The 
anxiety felt by the common people was shared 
by everyone in Austria-Hungary, and the one 
hope of high and low was that the Emperor 
might live. This was not so much on account 
of his personal popularity, although this was 
great, as because of the dread of the future. 
The heir to the throne, Archduke Francis 
Ferdinand, was the most hated man in Austria- 
Hungary. The Emperor's death meant that 
he would succeed to the throne. The Emperor 
himself felt a profound hatred for his heir, and 
it was a matter of common knowledge that he 
was filled with a firm determination not only 
to recover from his illness, but to outlive his 
heir. Day after day the struggle went on within 
the white walls of Schonbrunn Palace; the 
daily papers spoke of the Emperor's illness as 
a slight cold, for the monarch was not satisfied 
with reading extracts from the official organs, 
as was his ordinary custom, but insisted upon 
having all the papers, opposition organs as well 
as bounty-fed periodicals, brought to his room. 
He wished to find out whether the doctors were 
telling the truth about his illness. The three 
specialists came to the conclusion that he could 
not recover; Doctor Kerzl alone stood firm and 


said that he would get well again. The 
Emperor refused to take to his bed, having a 
superstitious horror of lying down in the day- 
time. Kerzl supported him in this, and it is 
probable that he owed his recovery to it. The 
disputes among the doctors were unseemly, and 
the specialists insisted on calling the family to 
Vienna. Archduchess Gisela, the Emperor's 
elder daughter, arrived in great haste, and his 
younger daughter, Valerie, also appeared on 
the scene. Both women are very pious, and 
they immediately wished the Emperor to re- 
ceive Extreme Unction. The Archbishop of 
Vienna, with a retinue of priests, actually came 
out to Schonbrunn to administer it, but they 
were met downstairs by Frau Catherina Schraatt, 
who told them that it would frighten him to 
death, and induced them to return without 
carrying out their mission. Archduke Francis 
Ferdinand arrived at the capital. He and his 
morganatic wife, Duchess Hohenberg, estab- 
lished themselves at the Belvedere Palace for 
the season. The Archduke, a man who lacked 
refinement and who was utterly devoid of tact, 
immediately began to act as if he had already 
succeeded to the throne. Statesmen, fearing 
that the Emperor would never recover, were 
afraid to oppose him, and he got an insight 


into affairs of State during the Emperor's ill- 
ness that enabled him to assume a position that 
he never gave up afterwards. The Habsburgs 
were obliged to look on while Duchess Hohen- 
berg, then merely Countess Chotek, took a 
position that would never have been conceded 
to her had the Emperor been in his usual health. 
Kaiser Wilhelm, ever watchful, began to count 
on the possibility of the Emperor's death, and 
the friendship between him and the Archduke 
dates from this epoch. Kaiser Wilhelm did 
not like the heir to the throne of Austria- 
Hungary; he recognised the fact that he would 
have to deal with a determined man, who knew 
exactly what he wanted and would refuse to 
believe the flattering assurances that satisfied 
Emperor Francis Joseph, who, although still 
in full command of his mental faculties, was 
beginning to feel the weight of years. The 
Emperor was never so acute a man as his heir ; 
the Archduke, too, had a wife whose intelli- 
gence was remarkable. Countess Chotek was 
ambitious, and her husband was accustomed to 
following her advice in State affairs. Kaiser 
Wilhelm therefore shared the wish of the 
Austrian people, that the aged Emperor might 
long be spared to them. Week after week 
went by. People from all parts of the 


monarchy sent the Emperor quaint remedies, 
charms, and specifics of all kinds to cure his 
illness; several officials were engaged all day 
in writing to thank the senders, who were not 
even aware of what ailed the Emperor. When 
it was finally announced that he was out of 
danger there was great jubilation throughout 
the realm; the people poured scorn upon the 
specialists, and acclaimed Dr. Kerzl as the 
saviour of the country whenever they could 
catch sight of his rough, honest face, bronzed 
by exposure upon many a battlefield. The 
Emperor had given his attendants great trouble 
during his illness and convalescence, as he had 
refused to allow anyone to enter his rooms ex- 
cept Dr. Kerzl, his soldier-valet, who slept upon 
a rug in the antechamber of his bedroom, and 
the sentry, who always paced to and fro out- 
side the Emperor's bedchamber, and watched 
through a spyhole, cunningly made in the door, 
for any change. No woman was allowed to 
enter the suite of rooms during the night hours, 
the patient saying he preferred an orderly to 
nurse him. 

Gradually the Emperor recovered his powers. 
He was never the same man again; his vigour 
was gone, and, although he was little changed 
in appearance, his grasp upon affairs had 


weakened. The Archduke, who disliked Vienna 
cordially, remained in town, a thorn in the 
Emperor's side. The latter, however, could find 
no pretext for dismissing him to the country. 
Councillors, already anticipating the probable 
demise of the reigning monarch at no distant 
date, advised the Emperor to consult with his 
heir and to try to inculcate the inexperienced 
man with some of his statecraft. The Emperor 
was induced to bestow some powers upon the 
Archduke, although much against his will, and 
a new era in the history of the country began. 



All Europe was asking one and the same 
question at this epoch : " What kind of a man 
is the heir to the throne ? " 

They got the answer that he was "a little- 
known man," and this was true to a certain 
extent. The Emperor, an old autocrat, never 
allowed any member of the Imperial family to 
take a leading part in public affairs. They 
were expected to do their duty in opening 
charitable institutions, presiding at fetes in 
provincial cities, but in both Vienna and Buda- 
pesth they found it advisable to keep well in 
the background. Whenever a young Archduke 
became too popular, even in the ballrooms of 
Vienna, he was promptly banished to some out- 
of-the-way place, ostensibly on a mission, but 
really as a punishment for presuming to court 


This was well understood among the Habs- 
burgs, who, as a rule, did not care for Court 
life. Most of the Archdukes lived on their 
country estates, where they enjoyed almost 
regal power for nine months of the year, merely 
coming to Court to pay their respects to the 
monarch at the New Year. 

Archduke Francis Ferdinand was very fond 
of power and very ambitious, but he did not care 
for playing the role of heir to the throne when 
he had reached middle age and was at the 
height of his powers. He therefore remained 
in the country for the greater part of the year. 

This did not increase his popularity. People 
grumbled at the sadness that hung like a pall 
over the Court. They said that it was merely 
a resort for military men and officials, and 
wished that young life could be introduced to 
restore Vienna and Budapesth to their former 
gaiety. Archduke Francis Ferdinand had 
laboured under great disadvantages since 
sudden and unexpected events had made him 
heir to the throne. His attendants and the 
Court officials summed up the position in one 
sentence : " He has never been trained for a 
throne." He was entirely lacking in tact — a 
quality which, if not a natural gift, must be 
acquired by painful experience by personages 

C 2 


who will one day occupy a throne. He spoke 
no languages except his own. He had, of 
course, some knowledge of French and Italian, 
and was learning Hungarian; but he was 
not in a position to carry on delicate 
negotiations in French. He had a bad 
record even for an Austrian Archduke. His 
youthful career had been full of incident, and 
his doctors had been compelled to put a sudden 
stop to a course of youthful dissipation by 
sending him on a voyage round the world. 
He was reported to be suffering from consump- 
tion in its preliminary stages, and it was said his 
only chance of life was a complete change of 
climate. The Archduke, who was an artist and 
well acquainted with ancient and modern cul- 
ture, started off on the Imperial yacht for the 
East with nothing but pleasurable feelings. His 
favourite study was ethnology, and he made a 
collection of objects of great interest during 
this voyage. They were to be seen in one of the 
galleries of the Hofburg, which had recently 
been added to the main block of the town palace. 
The Archduke converted the new part into a 
museum, as the Emperor had forbidden the 
architect to fit the new building with lifts or 
other modern appliances. Lifts he hated, and 
firmly refused to enter one even when he was 


having his portrait painted by an artist whose 
studio was on the sixth floor of a Vienna house. 

The Archduke, who was intensely modern, 
decided that a palace without lifts and proper 
heating appliances was not fit to live in, and 
promptly converted the new gallery into a pic- 
ture gallery and museum without waiting for 
the Emperor's advice or permission. 

The aged Emperor and his heir clashed in 
every direction ; they were diametrically op- 
posed in all their tastes and convictions. Both 
were pious to an exaggerated degree. The 
Emperor disliked the Jesuits; his heir con- 
sorted with them constantly, and listened to 
their advice in matters of State. This alone 
would have been sufficient to prevent the Em- 
peror from ever wishing him to succeed to the 
throne. The Archduke, too, although so pious, 
had contrived to estrange both the Church and 
the Emperor by one act of boyish folly. As a 
young officer he was stationed at a depot in 
the depths of the country to learn his profes- 
sion, far from critical crowds. One day he was 
riding across the fields, when some peasants, 
carrying the mortal remains of one of their 
fellows, crossed by the footpath. The Arch- 
duke, in a fit of youthful exuberance, set his 
horse at the bier and cleared it at a jump. The 


priest protested at the act of sacrilege. The 
story reached the ears of the Emperor, who 
never forgave him. Although the Archduke 
was not careful of the feelings of the Roman 
Catholics, the non-Catholics' in the country 
believed that he would be capable of perse- 
cuting them with a rigour such as had been un- 
known since the Middle Ages. At the time of 
the Emperor's illness the Liberal papers pro- 
phesied in their leading articles that he would 
build up martyr fires around the Cathedral of 
St. Stefan, in the centre of Vienna. They said 
he would show the utmost relentlessness in 
burning or hanging his Jewish, Protestant, and 
Mahommedan subjects, all of whom were accus- 
tomed to a wide tolerance, based on indifference 
to them and their doings. The Archduke was 
bitterly hated in Hungary; it was commonly 
reported that his life was not safe in that part 
of his future kingdom. He gave colour to these 
reports by his strange conduct. When he went 
down to Budapesth he did not put up at an 
hotel, as was customary. He remained all night 
in the royal train, which was run up the line to a 
siding, no one being aware of the exact spot 
at which it had drawn up. This confession of 
fear and lack of confidence in the loyalty of his 
subjects did the Archduke great harm. The 


alternative explanation, sometimes advanced, 
that the Archduke, who was known as the 
meanest man in the kingdom, merely wished to 
save an hotel bill, did not improve matters. 
The hotel-keepers looked upon members of the 
Imperial House as most desirable guests ; they 
never overcharged them, for the advertisement 
was worth a great deal to them. Archdukes who 
neither commanded a palace to be prepared for 
their coming nor put up at an hotel were 
naturally not popular with anyone. Archduke 
Francis Ferdinand crowned all his other 
delinquencies by his marriage. Instead of con- 
tracting an alliance with some powerful reign- 
ing house, he made a morganatic marriage with 
a lady-in-waiting. Countess Chotek was a 
Bohemian aristocrat, it is true, but she was not 
a peer of any member of the House of Habs- 
burg. The Emperor allowed the marriage to 
take place, and when all the circumstances are 
taken into account, especially the ease with 
which persons whose existence was disagree- 
able to the Vienna Court were removed, it can 
only be concluded that the Emperor approved 
of the marriage. He evidently did not wish the 
children of the Archduke to come to the throne 
on account of their father's tendency to tuber- 
culosis, which was reported to have gone to the 


brain. It was common knowledge that the 
Archduke was accustomed to fly into fearful 
rages. Whether this habit, which is common 
to all the Habsburgs, was owing to epilepsy, or 
some obscure brain disease, it is difficult to say ; 
but the Emperor evidently shared the common 
feeling that it was some obscure affection of the 
brain, and shared the doctors' opinion that the 
Archduke's descendants ought not to come to 
the throne of Austria-Hungary. 

Archduke Francis Ferdinand, who was 
always short of money, tried to engage in busi- 
ness, and, as usually happens with men of his 
position, made a sad failure of it. Instead of 
leaving the management of his estates to 
stewards, who would only take their customary 
perquisites, he engaged in business transactions 
himself. He was badly swindled, and gained a 
reputation for meanness which was richly 
deserved. His varied excursions into the 
realms of speculative business w^ere attended 
by no better luck. He dared not associate him- 
self with eminent business men, so he sum- 
moned a number of companions to his side who 
were difficult to shake off. With them he em- 
barked upon business of an illegitimate kind. 
His only excuse was his complete lack of under- 
standing of all matters relating to business. 


Z Q 


X < 

I 5 



Neither Archduke Francis Ferdinand nor 
his morganatic wife had the tact or sense to hide 
the impatience with which they awaited the aged 
Emperor's death. The "parrot" story, as it 
was called, went the round of the Vienna cafes 
at this period. A bird of very rare plumage, 
evidently the property of some aristocratic per- 
sonage, was found straying in the public gardens 
of Vienna. A gardener promptly caught it and 
took it round to the police, where lost property 
of all kinds was deposited, until its owner could 
be found. The sergeant in charge put the bird 
in a cage and forgot all about it. Shortly after- 
wards he was startled to hear the parrot begin 
to discourse with great fluency when it had 
become used to its surroundings. It referred to 
various members of the Imperial family in 
terms of the very scantiest respect. " That 
old cat Valerie" was its delicate way of refer- 
ring to the Emperor's younger and favourite 
daughter. " Peacocks, sluts " were terms of 
abuse applied to Archduchesses who either 
overdressed or neglected their toilettes. The 
sergeant became pale with fright It was lese- 
majeste to listen to such words, and the penalty 
might be death. When the parrot broke into 
a steady stream of talk, with a kind of refrain, 
" He'll live to be a hundred, Sofie," in an exact 


imitation of the gruff tones of the heir to the 
throne, who was evidently referring to the Em- 
peror, 4he sergeant felt that any further eaves- 
dropping would be dangerous. He picked up a 
cloth, threw it over this utterer of high treason, 
and carried the loquacious bird to the chief of 
the police. The cloth was removed, and the 
indignant parrot, unused to such treatment, 
began worse than before. The sergeant was 
dispatched in all haste to find a very thick black 
cloth that might be calculated to damp even the 
ardour of an Imperial parrot, and, carefully 
wrapped up, the bird was sent to the Belvedere, 
where the Archduke and his wife were in 



Countess Chotek, afterwards Duchess 
Hohenberg, the morganatic wife of the late 
Francis Ferdinand, the heir to the throne of 
Austria-Hungary, was a most remarkable 
woman, and her history is perhaps the most 
romantic that was ever written. She belonged 
to an impoverished Bohemian family, which 
ranked high among the ancient aristocracy of 
that nation. She was brought up very quietly 
and was accustomed, as a girl, to ride in the 
tramway in Dresden, where her father held a 
post in the Diplomatic Service. Her dresses 
were very plain, even for an aristocrat. The 
peculiar charm that she possessed, however, 
made her an object of much attention. She was 
a big blonde, as stately as an empress, and at 
the same time a woman who knew how to make 
herself agreeable in conversation, as her life 
had given her an intimate knowledge of men 



and things that was unusual in a woman belong- 
ing to a noble family, in Austria-Hungary, 
where the little aristocrats are convent-bred, and 
never encouraged to form opinions of their own 
upon the current topics of the hour. She was 
very ambitious, and intelligent to an extra- 
ordinary degree. She was a woman who knew 
just what she wanted, and who would not have 
hesitated to use any means that were necessary 
for the attainment of her object. She made her 
entrance into the Austrian Imperial family in a 
very subordinate position. She became lady-in- 
waiting to the beautiful daughters of Archduke 
Frederick, the richest of all the Archdukes. Her 
life in his family was probably not disagreeable, 
but decidedly monotonous, as the family spent 
most of the time on lonely country estates in 
Hungary. Archduke Francis Ferdinand fre- 
quented the Vienna palace, on the Albrecht 
Platz, where Archduke Frederick lived when in 
residence at Court. Everyone believed that he 
was about to marry one of the Archduke's 
daughters, and the match was regarded as a 
good one. The girls had large dowries, and 
relationship between the heir to the throne and 
the branch of the family to which they belonged 
was very distant. It is probable that the Arch- 
duke had some such arrangement in his mind 


when he visited the house. He, however, fell 
violently and irretrievably in love with the lady- 
in-waiting, a woman in the early thirties, and 
regarded as long past marriageable age in Court 
circles. The romantic story of the marriage is 
well known, but the fact that the Archduke, in 
marrying the lady-in-waiting, made an in- 
veterate enemy of Archduke Frederick was 
never appreciated at its proper value abroad. 
In Vienna itself the gravity of the position was 
well understood. No better-class tradesman in 
Austria would allow such an insult to his 
daughters to go unrevenged, for the Austrian 
father is very jealous of his daughters' 
reputation. No young man is permitted 
to visit at a house regularly without 
having the clearest " intentions." At the Court 
this unwritten law is much stricter than among 
the people. The Archduke, in selecting the 
lady-in-waiting, was casting a slur upon the 
Archduchesses she attended. Fortunately, 
there were several girls, and as he had never 
singled out any one of them for particular 
attention, there was no open rupture. It is cer- 
tain, however, that the Archduke behaved in a 
very ungentlemanly way, and that his conduct 
was totally lacking in delicacy. Archduke 
Frederick never forgave the insult, and the 


other members of the House of Habsburg sym- 
pathised with him in his wrath at the incident. 
Indeed, the outraged father had plenty of occa- 
sion to remember it. His daughter, Archduchess 
Isabella, who had hoped to become the future 
Empress of Austria, made an unfortunate mar- 
riage later on. Her parents, by way of settling 
the incident of the heir to the throne, and laying 
the ghosts of rumours that still hung round the 
girl's name, arranged a match with Prince 
George of Bavaria. The Archduchess, who 
hated the young man, actually set fire to her 
wedding-dress on the eve of the marriage, 
hoping that it would be put off, as she had 
nothing suitable to wear. 

Incidentally, she set fire to the palace, and a 
valuable collection of pictures in the adjacent 
museum was threatened. The marriage took 
place on the morrow, a dress having been hur- 
riedly contrived for the occasion. The girl fled 
from her husband on the wedding journey, and 
afterwards became a Red Cross nurse. For 
these misfortunes the Archduke was regarded 
as primarily responsible and they served to 
make Countess Chotek still more detestable to 
the Imperial family. 

On his marriage Archduke Francis Ferdin- 
and renounced all rights to the throne and to any 


dignities or privileges belonging to members of 
the House of Habsburg for his heirs. He and 
his wife withdrew into obscurity, where a family 
of beautiful children was born to them. This 
led Countess Chotek to dream of altering the 
laws of succession and securing the throne for 
her eldest son. With this ulterior object in view 
she came to Vienna at the time of the Emperor's 
illness, and tried to force her way into Court 
society. Her rank entitled her to be received at 
Court, but not to be admitted into the magic 
circle of the Austrian Imperial family as one of 
themselves. The etiquette of the Vienna Court 
is the strictest in Europe, and is based upon 
that ruling at the Spanish Court. The members 
of the Habsburg family are all extremely 
simple, but they permit no liberties to be taken 
either with themselves or the family. Countess 
Chotek, as she was then, appeared at the Court 
ball unannounced. She intended to surprise the 
Master of the Ceremonies, and force him to 
allow her to enter with the Archduchesses. The 
old man did not lose his presence of mind. He 
met the difficulty in a very clever way. The 
married Archduchesses walked in first, each 
with her cavalier, selected especially for the 
honour. After the long procession of handsome, 
stately dames with flowing trains had passed 


into the brilliantly-lighted room, the young 
Archduchesses who were presented. at Court for 
the first time were led into the hall, each on the 
arm of a handsome 3^oung officer. Eight girls, 
dressed in simple muslin gowns that barely 
reached to their ankles, and looking very 
childish, as none was more than eighteen years 
of age, came next in the long procession. The 
Master of the Ceremonies, who had detained 
Countess Chotek, found her a place, on the left 
arm of the last cavalier, the youngest of the 
Archduchesses occupying the post of honour on 
the right. Countess Chotek entered the ball- 
room inwardly raging. Everyone noticed the 
insult, as the other ladies all had a cavalier to 
themselves. The next morning the Vienna news- 
papers alluded to the slight which had been put 
upon the wife of the heir to the throne, and said 
that the Master of the Ceremonies should have 
remembered that the Countess was a woman, 
and have refrained from so pointed an insult. 
Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife left 
Vienna the next day as a protest, and this was 
the last occasion upon which he tried to force 
his wife upon the Court. 

Kaiser Wilhelm, whose emissaries always 
kept him well informed of every event, big or 
little, in Vienna, heard of the incident. Now 


was the time for him to interfere. The Arch- 
duke, who had always turned a deaf ear to 
blandishments from Berlin, would now be 
accessible. The man who was too strong to care 
to hear flattery of himself would lend a willing 
ear to any defence of his beautiful wife, who had 
been grossly insulted. The Archduke became 
more deeply attached to his wife every year; 
the inconveniences to which he was subjected 
for her sake only strengthened his affection. 
When, therefore, an invitation for the Archduke 
and his wife came from Berlin it was gratefully 
accepted. Kaiser Wilhelm, whose wife, the 
Empress, has never been allowed to have much 
voice in things, placed Countess Chotek in the 
place of honour, and, what is vastly more 
important, caused the fact to be chronicled in 
the German and Austrian papers. The Arch- 
duchesses in Vienna raged inwardly, for Coun- 
tess Chotek, the " scullery-maid," as they were 
in the habit of calling her, was being received 
with Royal honours, and the rank accorded to 
her in Berlin was such as would be given to a 
future Empress. Kaiser Wilhelm won a warm 
friend by this clever manoeuvre, which inci- 
dentally cost him nothing. 

The Archduke did not come to Vienna on 
representative occasions after this episode, but 



he kept in close touch with the Foreign Minister, 
Count Aehrenthal, who looked to him for guid- 
ance instead of to the Emperor. The War 
Minister went to the Archduke's Bohemian 
palace when he wanted large estimates passed, 
and induced the Archduke to exert his influence 
in this direction. Meanwhile the favourite occu- 
pation of the Archduke continued to be garden- 
ing, and this taste took him all over Europe. 
The Court Chronicle never spoke of the Arch- 
duke. An accidental paragraph in some foreign 
paper would reveal the fact that he and the 
Countess were in Holland, attending sales of 
bulbs. He even went to England incognito on 
several occasions to visit far-famed gardens. 
It is doubtful, in the light of later events, 
whether all these journeys were connected 
solely with gardening, although the Archduke 
was a passionate horticulturist. Countess 
Chotek always accompanied her husband, and 
when, in the early spring, he went to Miramare, 
near Trieste, or to the fairy-like island of 
Brioni, she and the children went too. The 
Archduke spent his time in superintending the 
building of small swift cruisers, in inspecting 
wireless telegraphic installations on the coast, 
and in keeping the naval experts employed at 
high pressure. He was the first Archduke who 


was interested in the sea, the aged Emperor 
caring so little for marine affairs that he did not 
even possess a naval uniform among the large 
and miscellaneous collection in his wardrobe. 

Countess Chotek, like many not born to the 
purple, made mistakes of a kind that did not 
add to her popularity. Her husband had great 
possessions, and owned art treasures of inestim- 
able worth, but they were far from being a 
source of revenue. In fact his income was not 
sufficient to keep them up properly. His wife 
had brought him no dowry. His growing family 
was a source of expense. Thus ready money 
was a scarcity in the family. Countess Chotek 
tried to economise on her personal expenses, 
instead of leaving it to her stewards, who under- 
stood where a woman of that rank can be mean 
and where she must be munificent. She became 
involved in many discreditable affaires through 
her stinginess. One of these was a dispute with 
a cabby at Salzburg. The Countess committed 
an unheard-of indiscretion — she took a one- 
horsed cab. No lady, en toilette, can ride in a 
one-horsed cab in Austria. If really poor she 
can ride in the electric tramway, but for some 
occult reason the cab is taboo. She must either 
take a fiacre with a pair of dashing steeds, or a 
motor-car. Countess Chotek not only hailed a 

D 2 


one-horsed cab, when a row of handsome and 
well-fitted fiacres stood by, but refused to pay 
the fare the cabby demanded. He had recog- 
nised the lady, and naturally thought that she 
would stand imposition, as ladies of the Imperial 
family never go about unattended, and the only 
explanation to his unsophisticated mind was 
that the Countess was on clandestine business 
of some kind, and should be blackmailed for it. 
To his astonishment she marched him off to the 
police-station herself. The police condemned 
the unfortunate cabby to a fine, but the Countess 
Sofia was felt to be in the wrong. What had 
possessed her to ride in an " Einspanner" ? An 
elopement with the groom or automobile 
chauffeur was quite an ordinary incident among 
the aristocracy and speedily forgotten, but such 
a mistake as going in the wrong kind of cab was 
more than a misdemeanour, it was a lack of 
s avoir vivre that the country could never for- 



If you ask an educated, reflecting Austrian 
under what form of Government he lives, he will 
reply, " The Emperor of Austria and King of 
Hungary is an absolute monarch; we live under 
a despotism tempered by carelessness." And he 
will laugh flippantly. " So long as one man, the 
Emperor, has the right to decide whether there 
will be peace or war, without appealing to his 
Ministers, the Constitution is a mere mockery. 
We owe the only liberties we enjoy to the slack- 
ness in the administration of the laws of the 
realm; we have no rights." " How is it that the 
country has never demanded its rights ? " 
" Those who ask awkward questions in this 
country are hanged or exiled . . . Those who 
wish to remain here keep a still tongue in their 
heads . . . We are talking treason now, and 
there are spies everywhere." Other Austrians 



belonging to the intellectual class explain that 
the men in power encourage frivolity sys- 
tematically, and provide amusement for the 
people to prevent their thinking or reflecting. 
Certain it is that Vienna before the war was the 
chief centre of gaiety in Europe. 

In spite of the sombre shadow cast over the 
Court, the city lived for amusement. It was the 
only thing that the Viennese really understood. 
In Advent things are relatively quiet; there is 
the same round of gaiety as later in the year, 
but the toilettes are sombre, and everything is 
on a less magnificent scale than in Fasching, 
the time between the Court Ball — when the 
Emperor opens the real season — and the begin- 
ning of Lent. The winter of 1908 was parti- 
cularly gay. There was skating all day and 
dancing all night. Light sleds carried the girls 
to balls when the snow had frozen hard and 
horses, in their spiked shoes, could not get any 
grip on the slippery paving-stones. Others 
went in the electric tramway, which ran even 
when the temperature was far below freezing- 
point, and the drivers were provided with 
astrachan masks and goggles, to prevent their 
eyelids freezing to their cheeks. There were 
balls every night given by different societies 
and corporations of all grades and degrees, 


from the artists' ball to the chimney-sweeps' 
dance. No one ever dreamt of staying at home 
during Fasching. Such details as lack of dress, 
money or chaperones made no difference. If 
you had no dress you borrowed a domino and 
went to a masked ball. The balls often lasted 
far into the next day, sometimes only closing 
at four in the afternoon. Everyone can dance, 
and did dance through the festive season, except 
small children, who were learning their steps 
at the dancing-school. Many began to dance 
and skate before they were firm on their feet, 
their parents so dreaded their not being skilled 
in the things that " really mattered." Old men 
did not stay at home ; they sat in a favourite 
cafe, where a table was reserved for them, ever 
since they had been saluted as " Herr Doctor" 
for the first time by the waiter who judged that 
they had reached manhood. The rule universally 
accepted, and put into practice by rich and poor 
alike, was : " Enjoy yourself while you can, you 
never know what the morrow may bring." In 
the case of the Viennese it only brought new 
varieties of enjoyment. No considerate 
em.ployer expected his staff to turn up in full 
numbers after a redoute. Sleep was rare in the 
season. Many young men never went to bed at 
all night after night; they left the ball-room at 


dawn, took an ice-cold dip, and repaired to the 
next cafe, where they drank cup after cup of 
strong black coffee, to enable them to keep 
awake during office hours. The employer said 
nothing so long as the work was done. 

After the ball it was the rule to visit the 
music-halls and night cafes, and this continual 
gaiety left no time or inclination to discuss poli- 
tics or criticise rulers. Everyone was contented 
and satisfied with things as they were. They 
made no excuse for their frivolity. " In fact a 
man who showed no disposition to join in the 
round of gaiety immediately became " suspect." 
An officer had more chances of making a career 
for himself if he were a good dancer and could 
pirouette his way into the good graces of the 
commander's aged wife than if he spent hours 
over maps and plans. His brother officers 
wondered why he wished to investigate 
things. . . . Was he selling information to 

At this epoch winter sports were beginning 
to become a factor in the life of the Austrians. 
Some girls asked their fathers to give them 
the money ear-marked for balls to spend on 
ski and a winter outfit. In the middle classes 
the innovation was not regarded as an advan- 
tage. Winter sports cost more than balls. The 


girls were inclined to become too emancipated, 
and their mothers spent anxious hours wonder- 
ing whether they had not taken cold or met with 
accidents. In the upper classes winter sports 
and dancing were combined. The Austro-Hun- 
garian aristocrat is accustomed to an outdoor 
life, and the lower classes, too, went ski-ing in 
the mountains just outside Vienna. The 
Government, quick to see that it would be an 
advantage to have soldiers trained to use skis for 
the army, encouraged winter sports, put on cheap 
trains and extra trams to enable the people to 
go in for it thoroughly. 

The army of dressmakers, shoemakers, 
florists, and others who live by manufactur- 
ing articles for the ball season naturally 
disapproved of winter sports ; but it is doubtful 
whether the new fashion really made much 
difference to them, for the ball-rooms seemed 
as full as ever. 

There were large numbers of strangers in 
both Vienna and Budapesth; curiously enough 
they were almost without exception people from 
within the Empire or from the Balkans. Vienna 
was always the capital of the Balkans. The 
women came to shop there, girls were sent to 
finishing schools in the capital, and it was a kind 
of Mecca to which men from far-off places in 


Rumania dreamed of coming once in their lives. 
The Balkan kings visited Vienna, and reaped 
credit with their peoples from having sat side 
by side with the Emperor, the great stickler for 
etiquette, the arbiter of rank for the East. 

Such was Vienna, and such were to a lesser 
degree the provincial cities of Austria-Hungary, 
which all modelled themselves on the capital, 
when Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany and the heir 
to the throne. Archduke Francis Ferdinand, 
decided to embark upon an aggressive policy. 
The Archduke fondly believed that the idea 
originated with himself, and that he was right 
in taking advantage of the temporary disable- 
ment of the aged Emperor to strike a blow for 
his country's aggrandisement. He did not see 
that he was doing an unwise thing in listening 
to the counsels of a neighbouring monarch, 
whose interests were by no means identical with 
those of his own country, and acting on these 
promptings, without consulting the Emperor. 
Count Aehrenthal, the Foreign Minister, was a 
creature of the new regime, and he took his 
instructions from the coming man. Changes of 
policy for the Dual Monarchy are usually 
announced at the meeting of the Delegations, 
an assembly of members of the Austrian and of 
the Hungarian Parliaments, who are delegated 


by their fellows to represent them at the meet- 
ing. The Delegations, which sit in Vienna and 
in Budapesth alternatively, vote supplies for all 
objects common to the two countries, such as the 
army and navy. The small check that the 
Austrian and Hungarian Parliaments can put 
on their rulers lies here. The members of the 
Delegations, however, were men who had axes 
to grind and seldom interfered with the pro- 
gramme announced by the Foreign Minister. 

It was at a meeting of the Delegations in 
Vienna, in the winter of igo8, that Baron 
Aehrenthal announced the fact that Austria- 
Hungary had embarked upon an aggressive 
policy. The days of quiet and tranquillity were 
over; the country intended to join in the march 
forward. It only sought commercial expansion, 
it is true, but it was prepared to face all and any 



Aehrenthal sketched a programme of com- 
mercial extension in the Near East. The first 
step to be taken was the building of the Sanjak 
railway. The Sanjak is a narrow strip of barren 
land which was at that period occupied by Aus- 
trian troops. Aehrenthal now proposed to build 
a railway through the Sanjak, with the terminus 
at Salonica. This railway would give Austria- 
Hungary the control of the Balkans as far as 
trade questions were concerned. Salonica would 
virtually become Austrian property, not by the 
force of conquest, but by the natural sequence 
of events. It had long been plain that the 
Turkish Empire was crumbling. None knew 
better than the Austrians that the hour for the 
final dissolution of the Turkish Empire had 
come. It therefore behoved Austria-Hungary 
to anticipate her rivals and to secure the most 


important port — Salonica. The building of the 
Sanjak railway would have shortened the route 
to the East by many hours. Many statesmen in 
Austria-Hungary did not approve of the Sanjak 
project. There was an alternative and much 
quicker route over Albania. If a railway could 
be built from Durazzo or Vallona across to 
Salonica, two days could be saved on the route 
to the East. Many statesmen favoured this 
plan. The Sanjak was a death-trap, they said; 
the line would run through gullies among 
mountains where enemies could command it. 
Besides the danger of enemy forces in case of 
war, the wild bands of half-civilised folk in the 
Balkans must be considered too. They might 
plunder the train at any time; it would be very 
easy to hold it up between the steep defiles. 
In Albania there was flat, fertile country that 
would be vastly more suited for railway build- 
ing; it could, besides, be opened up with ad- 
vantage. The only trouble with regard to 
Albania was that there was a treaty between 
Austria and Italy regarding any occupation of 
that country. If Austria took northern Albania, 
as she hoped to do, Italy was to have the 
southern part. Vallona, the best harbour on 
the Adriatic, lay in the part claimed by Italy. 
Thus Austria-Hungary hesitated between 


two alternative schemes. The German element 
in Austria was for pushing towards Salonica 
over the Sanjak. The idea had come from 
Berlin, and had been carefully suggested to 
Austrian diplomatists by the Emperor's ad- 
visers. Aehrenthal announced it publicly at 
the Delegations, and waited to see what effect 
his audacious move would have upon Europe. 
The Greeks sitting in the cafe in the Fleisch- 
markt in Vienna were the first on that memor- 
able night of the Delegations' meeting to catch 
up the words, " To Salonica." " Salonica is 
Greek," they said. " If it is wrested from the 
Turks, it must fall to Greece." Twenty-four 
hours later Europe said what it thought of Aus- 
tria's plans of expansion. The old Emperor, 
Francis Joseph, who had probably listened in a 
semi-comatose condition, as he frequently did, 
to the report made by his Foreign Minister on 
the Sanjak railway, summoned him to Schon- 
brunn in haste. There, in his characteristic 
way, in language so plain that there was no 
mistaking it, and that would have done credit to 
a Vienna cabby, the Emperor forbade any 
thoughts of a forward policy. He had had mis- 
fortunes enough in his long reign, he said. If 
any innovation was to be made it could be 
undertaken by his successor; for the rest of his 

Baron Aehrenthal, 


life there would be quiet. He understood that 
Russia was aghast at Austria's plans of aggres- 
sion, England was furious, and France asking 
what it all meant. The announcement made at 
the Delegations might be regarded as unspoken. 
Strange to say, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, 
the heir to the throne, agreed with the Emperor. 
He considered that the forward movement in 
the Balkans planned by Aehrenthal was ill- 
judged. He was aware that Kaiser Wilhelm 
and the " German " party in Austria desired to 
open the road to the East. The Archduke, 
however, took a much clearer view of the 
political situation than the Kaiser and his ad- 
visers. He grasped the very obvious fact that 
Italy was not a willing member of the Triple 
Alliance. She was only waiting for an excuse 
that would sound at all plausible to break loose 
from her bonds. Why the Archduke should be 
keenly aware of a fact that was never even sus- 
pected by Kaiser Wilhelm is not easy to say. 
Perhaps the intensity of his hatred enabled him 
to read the national character aright, for the 
Archduke hated Italy with a bitter hatred. He 
possessed estates in Italy, and considered that 
the Italian Courts of Justice had treated him 
unfairly in a series of law suits he had had about 
his property there. Moreover, there were dif- 


ferences of temperament between the Austrians 
and Italians. Francis Ferdinand was essentially 
a " German " Austrian — that is to say, an Aus- 
trian with leanings towards Prussian methods, 
who wished to have the Austrian army re- 
organised on Prussian methods. There was 
something in the Italian character that roused the 
Archduke's anger ; both he and Kaiser Wilhelm 
felt the rage, often manifested by the savage 
for things he cannot understand, at Italy and 
Italy's methods. This common dislike for Italy 
which possessed both men was doubtless due to 
a remarkable and startling change in the Italian 
character. During the last twenty years the 
Italians have organised themselves on German 
lines; the Italian of to-day has all the efficiency 
of the Prussian without his cumbersome 
methods. W^hen Kaiser V^ilhelm went to Italy 
unexpectedly to visit his friends there, he found 
hydroplanes that excelled those at home moving 
about in the limpid waters of the Adriatic. He 
went to Miramare, swelling with anger. Both 
he and Francis Ferdinand were sufficiently 
intelligent to take in the position at a glance. 
Italy was like a child that had stolen a march 
upon the world in a night by attaining to her 
full stature while the others slept. Both raged 
at the unexpected turn things had taken. While 


Kaiser Wilhelm was anxious to keep Italy as 
an ally, because Germany and Austria-Hungary 
had so small a coast-line, Francis Ferdinand, 
with much truer insight into the interests of his 
country, said, " Fall upon Italy unexpectedly 
and crush her." Kaiser Wilhelm realised that 
the Austro-Hungarian fleet would only be of 
use if it could emerge from the Adriatic. 
Bottled up in the inland sea by the Italian fleet 
it was a negligible quantity. He did not com- 
prehend the bitter hatred felt by every Italian 
for the ancient oppressor, the Austrian. He prob- 
ably knew little of the ways in which Italians 
in Austria w^ere persecuted, in spite of the exist- 
ence of the Triple Alliance. The Government 
went about its work in a very wary manner, and 
incidents which would have opened his eyes 
were carefully hushed up. It is probable, too, 
that the Austrians deceived the Kaiser as to 
the attitude of the Italians. Every Austrian 
knew in his heart that there could never be any- 
thing but war between the two countries. The 
manner in which they habitually alluded to the 
Italians was sufficient to prove their intense 
hate. The Italian subjects living in Austria 
reciprocated this sentiment in full. Whenever 
they found an opportunity of paying back some 
of the Austrian hate for them, they availed 



themselves of the chance. Archduke Francis 
Ferdinand always used his influence to prevent 
Austro-Italians rising to power. He had officials 
in Trieste removed from their posts merely 
because they were " Italians." Their places 
were taken by Slavs, who regarded the Arch- 
duke as their protector. As a matter of fact, 
the Slavs were the only people in Austria- 
Hungary who respected and liked the heir to 
the throne. The Germans despised him. The 
Hungarians frankly detested him, and the 
Italians execrated him. The Bohemians, the 
Croats, and the Serbs, all Slav races, regarded 
him as their representative. In the racial con- 
tests for place and power in Dalmatia, in 
Istria, the Slavs who wished to oust the Italians 
from their places appealed to the Archduke, 
and immediately got what they wanted, while 
the Czechs, who were in deadly antagonism with 
the Germans in Bohemia, had a powerful advo- 
cate in Countess Chotek. When the German 
officials tried to introduce the teaching in Ger- 
man instead of the Czech language into elemen- 
tary schools in Bohemia in Czech districts, the 
Archduke stood by them and prevented any 
encroachment by the German element. 

Thus Emperor Francis Joseph and his heir 
agreed, although from different motives, in pre- 


venting the plan of the building of the Sanjak 
railway being pursued. Kaiser Wilhelm, who 
had taken no part in the disputes that were 
raging in Vienna, was glad that the idea of 
Austria-Hungary's embarking on an aggressive 
policy should be ventilated, but did not wish 
her to take any course that might lead to war 
either in the Balkans or with Italy. Neither 
country was prepared to embark on an aggres- 
sive world-war. Kaiser Wilhelm encouraged 
Austro-Hungarian statesmen to contemplate a 
series of wars with poor and helpless neighbours, 
such as Italy, Montenegro, and Servia, but he 
was really thinking of executing his projects, of 
placing Germany " iiber alles ! " He knew that 
this idea of aggressive warfare would render it 
easier for the German party to obtain the arma- 
ments required for the coming struggle, while 
public opinion in the country would become 
accustomed to the idea of a policy of expansion. 
He cared little that the Archduke was prepar- 
ing for a couf upon Italy when he was contem- 
plating a blow in the opposite direction. The 
necessity for realising his plans made Kaiser 
Wilhelm regard all means justifiable, even the 
deception of his allies. 

The storm raised by the Sanjak railway pro- 
ject gradually calmed down, and Count Aehren- 

E 2 


thai, baulked in his plans, retired to the back- 
ground to work out fresh plans for Austro- 
Hungarian aggrandisement; while Archduke 
Francis Ferdinand, still sore at the Court Ball 
incident, sulked upon his magnificent estate at 
Konospischt, in Bohemia, where he superin- 
tended his wonderful collection of exotic plants 
and tried to forget Vienna the dusty, that was 
so bad for his lungs. 

Kaiser Wilhelm became increasingly aware 
that the immediate necessities of the situation 
rendered it important to gain Archduke Francis 
Ferdinand to his side. The Kaiser was pain- 
fully conscious that neither the aged Emperor 
nor his heir had any real regard for him. They 
were inclined to look upon him as an upstart in 
many ways. The Kaiser's sudden excursions 
into realms that they regarded as distinctly not 
regal annoyed them. What need had the Em- 
peror of Germany to seek distinction as a writer 
of plays .^ By such tricks he brought down the 
whole level of royalty. All the Habsburgs are 
eminently dignified, and Kaiser Wilhelm always 
seemed something of a royal mountebank to 
them, with his strange longings after artistic fame, 
his childish wish for popularity — a matter of the 
most complete indifference to his brother 
monarch in Vienna. 



Vienna, startled for an instant by the events 
connected with the meeting of the Austro-Hun- 
garian Delegations, soon sank back again into 
complete apathy as regards foreign politics. 
The Sanjak railway was forgotten and everyone 
was thinking of how the short time between 
Easter and the " Derby," the final event of the 
Vienna summer season, was to be spent, when 
news came that Kaiser Wilhelm was about to 
visit Vienna. He proposed to come to cele- 
brate the aged Emperor's jubilee and to bring 
his whole family with him. The. Viennese con- 
sidered this most tactless. Emperor Francis 
Joseph had lost his only son in a drunken brawl, 
and now his professed friend wished to remind 
him of the fact by bringing a family of hand- 
some young men to accentuate the contrast 
between the lonely old man and the Kaiser in 


the prime of life, surrounded by his six sons. 
The Kaiser secretly planned another " honour " 
for the Emperor. All the Federal Princes were 
to arrive in Vienna before the Kaiser and to 
await him on the platform. The Kaiser ar- 
ranged for them and their retinue to reach 
Vienna separately and almost in secrecy. No 
receptions were to be given them on arrival. He 
only broke the news to the Emperor privately 
when all the arrangements were complete and 
some of the Princes already on their way 
to Vienna. The Emperor thereupon lost his 
temper, which had already been sorely tried by 
the proposal to bring so many Imperial Princes. 
He sent a message to say that his health would 
not allow of him receiving anyone excepting the 
Kaiser. The Kaiser had to abandon his plan, 
which was to have the Emperor of Austria and 
the German Federal Princes grouped together 
on the little platform at Penzing, awaiting his 
arrival "like the rising sun," as the Vienna 
papers put it, and allow the Emperor to do 
homage to him among his vassals, thus recog- 
nising him as overlord of all the German- 
speaking peoples. 

The Press said what it thought of the Kaiser's 
overweening ambition, and he was very sur- 
prised. The Austrians were not so stupid as 


he had thought. They had grasped his plan 
to make himself the man of the hour instead 
of leaving the first place to the monarch whose 
jubilee was being celebrated. 

Wilhelm's fertile, restless brain had hardly 
abandoned one project before it conceived 
another. He left his bevy of handsome sons 
at home, but took his only daughter with him 
to Vienna. The heir to the Austrian throne, 
Archduke Francis Ferdinand, had made a mor- 
ganatic marriage; his children could not suc- 
ceed. Archduke Carl Francis Joseph, the son 
of Archduke Otto, who had lately died a 
horrible death, would be the next heir. Why 
should Princess Louise not become Empress of 
Austria and Queen of Hungary? There 
was the little difficulty about religion, but that 
could be managed. Louise and her mother, the 
Empress, were informed that they would be 
allowed to accompany the Kaiser. It is likely 
that the ladies had but small notice, for Princess 
Louise wore skirts that were perfectly appro- 
priate to the palace at Potsdam, where she 
ranked as the greatest tomboy of the family, 
but they were decidedly too short and too tight 
for the Austrian Court, where ample petti- 
coats are de rigueur. A tall, thin girl, looking 
absolutely irrepressive, stalked up the platform 


by her mother's side. Distracted ladies-in- 
waiting had attempted to teach her the Austrian 
Court curtsey — a most complicated manoeuvre 
that takes years to learn. They also tried to 
instil some ideas of the strictness of the Aus- 
trian Court etiquette into her mind. She was 
the terror of the palace at home ; the ladies-in- 
waiting stood in great awe of the spoilt child. 
They trembled when their turn to attend upon 
Her Royal Highness came round. They feared 
what would happen when she got to Vienna. 
The change from the free and easy manners of 
the Berlin Court to the unchangeable rules and 
regulations of Vienna was enough to upset a 
more placid girl. All the bowing and smiling 
upset Princess Louise, whose education had 
been very " Protestant." She put out her 
tongue at one of the stately Archduchesses — 
behind her back, it is true, but the incident did 
not go unnoticed. She dropped a bouquet that 
had been presented to her because the weight 
annoyed her. The Empress of Germany looked 
dismayed at the dismal failure. She had some 
idea of the Kaiser's plans, and was aware five 
minutes after the special train had pulled up on 
the platform that the project had fallen through. 
Wilhelm, who is not by any means sensitive, 
had not marked the by-play. The look on the 


horrified face of the Empress should have 
warned him from committing a further error; 
but he was always quite oblivious to atmo- 
spheres. He turned round and, with a rough 
shoulder movement that was visible to every- 
one on the platform, he actually "shoved" — 
no other word can describe the movement — 
the Princess towards the young Archduke. The 
Princess, well used to her father's abrupt 
manners, smiled at the young Archduke, who 
rose to the occasion in a manner worthy of the 
traditions of his family, which is celebrated for 
its fine manners. But Kaiser Wilhelm's matri- 
monial plans had failed before they were really 
made. All the women were against it. The 
Habsburgs objected to the presence of a Pro- 
testant in their midst even though she might for- 
sake her religion. They knew that anything so 
foreign to themselves could never preside at the 
Court of Vienna. Their opinion was shared by 
their guest, who hated the gloomy Hofburg, and 
cared but little for Schonbrunn, where the strict 
etiquette rendered the mother of the future heir 
to the throne a mere puppet in the hands of 
attendants, who would not even allow her to 
educate or control the destinies of her children. 
Princess Louise put a final seal upon any pos- 
sibility of negotiations being renewed by her 


very decided conduct during the subsequent 
proceedings. Vienna was full of stories of the 
strong-mindedness of the Kaiser's only daugh- 
ter. It had had experience of strong-minded 
Princesses in the past. It wished for nothing 
more of the same kind. Kaiser Wilhelm had 

Baulked in his matrimonial schemes, he now 
turned to the political situation. Emperor 
Francis Joseph was irritable. The visit, 
although on a much smaller scale than had been 
originally planned, cost him much money, and, 
though he had been extremely generous in his 
youth, the Emperor had become strangely par- 
simonious in his old age. He grudged the 
great expense that was invariably entailed by 
the Kaiser's State visits. The programme 
usually included some expensive outing. 
Sometimes five miles of road had to be im- 
proved up to the royal automobile standard. 
At another time Wilhelm would take a fancy 
to go shooting after his stay in Vienna, and 
could not be induced to accept the simple life 
that was the joy of the Emperor of. Austria 
when among the peasants. The hunting-box, 
the whole forest, had to be brought up to the 
standard of an American millionaire. The 
Habsburgs, whose claim to rank was too ancient 


and too secure to need any artificial pomp to 
keep it up, rode through the deep forests on 
small, hardy ponies. The Emperor of Ger- 
many required a road, and insisted upon its 
being cut right through the forest. He was 
never secure of his position. Beyond all these 
minor inconveniences he expected to be treated 
with the utmost ceremony, and considered that 
it was incumbent upon the frail old monarch 
in Schonbrunn to fetch him at the railway 
station, to take him to his rooms along the 
chilly corridors of Schonbrunn Palace, and to 
expose himself, in season and out of season, in 
order to magnify the importance of his guest. 
It was further reported in Vienna that Kaiser 
Wilhelm, ever penurious, had come to borrow 
money from the aged Emperor — one of the 
richest sovereigns in Europe, if, indeed, not 
the richest of all. All these things did not 
endear Emperor Wilhelm to the Viennese. 
They showed their feelings by refusing to get 
out the best bunting and by cheering their Em- 
peror frantically when alone, and pointedly 
refraining from any exhibition of enthusiasm 
when the visitors passed. The people, too, 
perhaps, had a true perception of what Kaiser 
Wilhelm sought, and recognised that he was 
really patronising the old Emperor, suggesting 


that it was time he took a back seat in a dozen 
insidious ways. Kaiser Wilhelm hoped Arch- 
duke Francis Ferdinand would be easy to 
manage, but was not convinced of this. Em- 
peror Francis Joseph watched the growing 
intimacy between his heir and the Kaiser with 
great misgivings. He knew that toils were 
being wound round the Archduke, who believed 
that he could accept obligations and not be 
called upon to pay for them. The aged 
diplomatist at his side knew better. The ex- 
perience of three-quarters of a century had 
taught him the true inwardness of things. It 
was vain, however, to utter warnings. He was 
not even discreet. When in a fit of rage — such 
as attacks all the Habsburgswho are epileptic — 
nothing was sacred. A man who was not able 
to control himself could not be trusted with 
secrets that might imperil Austria's relations 
with Germany. Thus things drifted. Ger- 
many obtained increasing power in Austrian 
councils ; the only man who could lay a restrain- 
ing hand upon his heir was old and weary and 
unwilling for anything that spelt change or 



It was clear to everyone who followed the 
course of events in the Near East that the dis- 
solution of the Turkish Empire was at hand. 
The race towards ruin, that had gone on slowly 
before the introduction of the telegraph and 
telephone, now began to suit its pace to the 
times. Corruption of every kind was the order 
of the day in Turkey. Nothing could be ob- 
tained without bribery. Every kind of enter- 
prise was stopped by the extortions of the tax- 
gatherer. Any man who was known to possess 
ready money was plundered by corrupt officials. 
The system of land-tenure prevented the 
peasants from putting any money into improve- 
ments. The great mineral wealth in Turkey 
and the subject lands could not be touched, for 
the law said that only the surface of the land 
belonged to the proprietor; all mining rights 
remained the property of the State. Mining 


engineers who came to search for hidden 
wealth were murdered by the peasants, who 
feared that the Government would confiscate 
their land. Men who went down to Turkey 
to do business always spoke of the necessity 
of adopting quite other methods than elsewhere. 
Money, even in the case of respectable firms, 
was not kept in the bank, where it would fetch 
interest, but distributed among a number of 
more or less distant relatives. Thus the 
stranger had no means of discovering whether 
his customer could pay or could not pay. The 
latter always had a clear case for the Courts, 
and could prove absolute penury whether the 
necessity arose in connection with taxation or 
with a tiresome customer. At the same time 
all business there was done on the credit system. 
The European agent, therefore, never dealt 
direct, but depended upon the local agent, who 
had a profound and up-to-date knowledge of 
his customer's financial standing. The fact 
that no man could be forced to pay made trades- 
men very honest, and the Turk, even before 
the revolution, had an excellent reputation for 
uprightness throughout South-Eastern Europe. 
" The Turk is a gentleman ; he always pays," 
they said in Austria and in Hungary. Just as 
large transactions were carried out in the latter 


countries without the interposition of any legal 
man, and sums running into thousands passed 
from hand to hand in small notes to avoid 
the heavy stamp duty, so the Turk trans- 
acted business without documents, always 
keeping to his word. The Austrian and 
German agent who overran Turkey and 
dumped his least marketable goods upon the 
people, felt he was dealing with a kindred 
soul, but, to avoid all risks, he fixed his prices 
to allow for long waiting, and also to cover any 
unavoidable bad debts. He had a serious com- 
petitor in business in the Balkans, and was 
gradually being routed from his long-estab- 
lished haunts by the Italian " drummer." The 
Bohemian textile manufacturers had been 
accustomed to regard Turkey and the Balkans 
as a kind of dumping-ground for bales of goods 
that had not "taken" colour properly and for 
wares that showed some deficiency. The arrival 
of cases of excellent wares from Milan at about 
two-thirds of the price of the Austrian article 
naturally damaged their market very consider- 
ably. It is certain that much of the friction 
between Austria-Hungary and Italy was due to 
the growing keenness of competition in trade 
upon the Balkans, and just at this period it was 
getting very active. 


Turkey hung thus, like an over-ripe pear, the 
wasps swarming around her, her Sultan Abdul 
Hamid committing crimes that cried to heaven, 
when the news reached Vienna that the Third 
Army Corps at Salonica was marching upon 
Constantinople. The revolution and the deposi- 
tion of Abdul Hamid were accomplished with 
a celerity that gave rise to the suspicion that 
Austria knew more of the whole affair than she 
chose to admit. The Austrian Government 
made desperate efforts to keep the news from 
getting out until everything was accomplished, 
and it is more than probable that the Young 
Turks were financed by the Austrian Govern- 
ment. It is equally certain, however, that the 
Young Turks chose a moment that suited them- 
selves, and had not consulted Austria as to 
details such as dates. Austria had set a vast 
machine in motion, and could only stand aghast 
at the completeness of the success of the rebels. 
It was not what she intended. With the open- 
ing of a Turkish Parliament many questions 
that might have drifted indefinitely became 
pressing. The chief of these was the future of 
Bosnia and Herzegowina. Austria-Hungary 
had occupied these lands. For many years she 
had carried on a rule that was not pleasing to 
the population, formed almost exclusively of 


Serbo-Croats, who wished to join their Servian 
neighbours across the frontier. With what the 
Austro-Hungarian administrators regarded as 
singular blindness, they felt that they would 
prefer the very progressive rule of King Peter 
to the retrogressive government of subject- 
nations by the Central Power. The few 
Mohammedan Albanians in Bosnia were con- 
tent with the existing state of affairs, which 
differed little from that under Turkish rule. As 
they were merely 3 per cent, of the population, 
however, they were of minor importance, 
although men of prominent position in most 

The establishment of the Turkish Constitu- 
tion changed the whole aspect of affairs as 
regards Bosnia and Herzegowina. The coun- 
tries, although occupied by Austria-Hungary, 
were still under the suzerainty of Turkey. 
They would have the right to send deputies to 
represent them at the new Turkish National 
Assembly. If this were permitted, Austria felt 
that it would be only a question of time before 
she was called upon to evacuate the annexed 
lands. Turkey might become regenerate. She 
would, then exercise the leading role in the 
Balkans that Austria had reserved for herself. 

Austria-Hungary decided that it was the 



moment for action. Only one course was open 
to her. She must proclaim the annexation of 
Bosnia-Herzegowina. Kaiser Wilhelm was 
consulted upon the advisability of this step. 
He said that the step must be taken without 
warning. It must come upon Europe as a sur- 
prise. Other countries had proclaimed annexa- 
tions — why not Austria-Hungary? 

Archduke Francis Ferdinand bitterly dis- 
approved of Austria's attention being turned to 
the East intead of to Italy. His influence was 
at a very low ebb at this particular time. Em- 
peror Francis Joseph had regained his health. 
It was even thought that the robust old man 
might outlive the heir to the throne. 



The proclamation of the Annexation of 
Bosnia and Herzegowina in 1908, with the 
evacuation of the Sanjak as a compensation to 
Turkey, took Europe by surprise. The general 
feeling was one of utter astonishment, that 
Austria-Hungary, herself far along the road to 
bankruptcy, should presume to annex anything. 
It is doubtful whether any one realised that Ger- 
many stood firm behind her in her high-handed 
action. Even if this were known vaguely, no 
one was aware that Germany had been con- 
sulted, had fathered the plan, and perhaps even 
conceived it in all its naked unscrupulousness. 
When the spasm of astonishment was over there 
was a loud outcry. Austria-Hungary had 
" torn up " the Treaty of Berlin in violating 
Article 29. An army, that was ready for the 
eventualities that the country shrewdly sus- 

'' F 2 


pected might ensue, was hastily thrown upon 
the Bosnian frontier, another was pushed up 
towards Russia. Germany also despatched a 
large force to the Russian front. The country 
resounded with the noise and confusion of a 
mobilisation, for, strange to say, Austria-Hun- 
gary, although aware her troops would be re- 
quired, had made no definite preparations. 
Stories of Bohemian regiments, driven into 
troop trains covered by their officers' revolvers, 
ran like wildfire through the country. Further 
reports soon proved that the mobilisation was 
simply organised confusion. Germany heard 
and marked. There could be no war under 
such conditions. Meanwhile, the Austro- 
Hungarian mobilisation was followed by rapid 
action on the other frontiers. Russia put troops 
on her frontiers. Servia, feeling concerned for 
her safety, inceased her frontier forces. Count 
Aehrenthal, besides promising to evacuate the 
Sanjak, undertook to compensate Turkey finan- 
cially for the loss of her provinces. In all these 
arrangements it must be noted that Turkey was 
never consulted. She had to look on while her 
territory was taken away, powerless to defend 
her interests. This was a matter of quite 
secondary interest to the Great Powers, who 
simply demanded to know what were the inten- 


tions of Austria-Hungary. The winter of 
1908-09 was spent in negotiation. The soldiers, 
carefully provided with winter clothing, spent 
the months on the chilly frontiers, and 
pitiful letters of complaint of the severity 
of the Galician and Servian climates 
reached Vienna. These were from the 
common soldiers, whose lot has always 
been a hard one. They were subjected to the 
severe discipline that prevails in the Prussian 
army, but whereas the Prussian gets his full 
allowance of food-stuff and has the proper 
clothing for the climate at the end of October, 
the Austrian trooper is, as often as not, supplied 
with ice-making machines in December and 
woollen sleeping-sacks in July. New needs that 
cropped up at the front were only met long after 
the cold that made them indispensable had 
changed to spring-like warmth and the armies 
felt the inconveniences of an inefficient official- 
dom very severely. 

The young officers at the front, who were well 
provided with money, spent a healthy winter. 
Ski-ing was one of the chief amusements ; they 
brought the sport back to Vienna, where it had 
previously been something of a novelty. Other- 
wise the social life of the people was but little 
affected by the diplomatic trouble that was 


causing such perturbation at the Ballplatz. 
There was some complaining at the scarcity of 
men. Vienna hostesses had always counted on 
providing each girl with a choice of partners; 
this year the available men were either getting 
on in life or unduly young, as the mobilisation 
had swept up the rest. Those who remained at 
home, too, were overworked, and could not 
spend their days in semi-somnolence in the 
office and their nights in the whirling activity of 
the ball-room. It was only a year later, on 
returning from the annual holiday, that people 
began to notice that prices had gone up. The 
explanation was simple enough. The army, 
after the unsuccessful mobilisation which had 
revealed all kinds of deficiencies, began to make 
numerous demands. The guns they had tested 
during the very frequent frontier skirmishes 
whose history has never been written were use- 
less. Much of the ammunition was counter- 
feit. Stories of corruption touching even the 
highest officials were current. Some great per- 
sonages were dismissed without the customary 
decoration, the Emperor plainly saying that he 
would show no mercy to those who had 
betrayed their country. The excuse that they 
had no idea that a war was perhaps pending did 
not palliate their crime in the eyes of the aged 


Emperor, who is a soldier far excellence in all 
that concerns discipline and order. 

The discovery of many lacunae and " dis- 
crepancies" in the service made Austria-Hun- 
gary herself chary of going to war. When the 
chance of a compromise came she was ready to 
take it. This was the easier for her, as Ger- 
many, who was prepared for a world-war in the 
month of October, absolutely refused to back 
Austria-Hungary in an adventurous policy in 
December. The reason was plain. Germany 
and her Emperor had believed all the reports 
they had received of Austria's readiness ; it was 
only when they saw how the mobilisation hung 
fire, and realised how unwilling her men — 
especially those belonging to the subject races — 
were to fight, that they saw they had been 
deceived, not intentionally, but by the differ- 
ence between what the Austrians believed and 
the actual state of affairs. Kaiser Wilhelm 
began to see for the first time that he could not 
take the Emperor's word for things ; not that the 
aged man had the faintest intent to deceive him, 
but simply that he lived in a world created by his 
courtiers, and existed in the atmosphere preva- 
lent at Courts a century ago. His councillors, 
old men like himself, never told the Emperor 
anything unpleasant. If they believed that he 


did not wish to hear it, the truth was carefully 
concealed. It is doubtful whether the Emperor 
ever knew of the discontent in the ranks of the 

Kaiser Wilhelm had but small difficulty in 
holding back the politicians who sat in Vienna 
and appreciated his arguments. Modern wars, 
said the Kaiser, cannot be waged without muni- 
tions and money. Austria-Hungary had 
numbers of men, but her munitions were of 
ancient pattern ; her guns were not fit for active 
service. Wealth she possessed in plenty, as 
Austria-Hungary is a rich country, but it was 
not realised. It was all invested in lands, 
machinery, and other plant. Her subjects were 
not accustomed to direct taxation to any extent. 
The military party could not grasp these argu- 

A great nation ought not to stoop to nego- 
tiate, it said. Why should they hesitate when 
their army was over two millions strong? 

It is a curious fact that during the negotia- 
tions no one mentioned the really salient point 
in so many words, nor asked, " By what right 
had Germany, through Austria, arrogated to 
herself the power to disturb the peace of Europe 
and to steal a march upon her neighbours in the 
night?" Neither country has ever advanced a 


reason to excuse this action. The first cause was 
doubtless Kaiser Wilhelm. In the plenitude of 
his arrogance, which made him consider himself 
beyond all human laws, he regarded the rights 
and wishes of others as entirely negligible quan- 
tities where the greatness of the German 
Empire, which meant his greatness, was con- 
cerned. Every German child was taught that 
Germany should be supreme over all. In the 
schools they learnt that nothing, not even truth 
or justice, could be allowed to interfere with 
Germany's commercial progress. The young 
men who stole into Italy or Bohemia as clerks 
and took copies of the names of customers for 
the use of their countrymen, were not considered 
thieves in the usual sense. They were simply 
German patriots ; men who had been reared from 
childhood to consider that the old standards had 
fallen, and a new German philosophy had taken 
its place. This teaching had one object, and 
one only, the g^grandisement of Germany. 
Kaiser Wilhelm was at the head of this move- 
ment. He regarded the other nations as effete 
and degenerate. They had no right to block the 
way of the Prussians, who were a reincarnation 
of the Goths of old, and who would sweep every- 
thing before them. Prussians of high standing 
were not backward in expounding this theory. 


The other German races murmured at the 
" unscrupulousness " of the Prussian. They felt 
that men of this character were dangerous, and 
that they ought not to be entrusted with the 
supreme Command in the Empire. Austria- 
Hungary, meanwhile, chafed at the bit that she 
was beginning to feel. After all the delicate 
questions had been settled and the terms of the 
agreement arranged, her statesmen sighed and 
said : " This has been a mistake, we ought to 
have gone to war." 

Statesmen saw that they had placed them- 
selves too unreservedly in Germany's hands. 
Peace, too, had been preserved by unusual 
means. When things had reached a very critical 
stage, the aged Emperor Francis Joseph 
stemmed the current that was carrying the 
country towards war. He let it be known that 
he objected to the peace being broken. He 
wished to end his days in tranquillity. Such 
respect was felt for the Emperor that this was 
sufficient to turn the scale in favour of peace. 
Austrian statesmen, however, were encouraged 
in an irresponsible feeling that they might go to 
great lengths in threatening war without being 
called upon to back up their threats by action. 
The Austro-Hungarian supreme War Lord 
could save the situation by a word. Germany 


could prevent things reaching a climax if the 
Emperor's petition for peace were not sufficient. 
These ideas were radically wrong. The 
Emperor tacitly undertook not to break the 
peace again when he made his appeal. It is 
certain that he never intended to do so. But this 
should have hampered his statesmen. It did 
not. Instead of feeling that the Emperor's 
pledge to Europe laid a responsibility upon 
them, they, on the contrary, felt that their acts 
were always liable to be disavowed by the 
monarch, and that they were not forced to show 
the same caution as they would if their decisions 
were final. In the same way, they failed to 
realise that Germany would inevitably demand 
compensation for her protection. The noblemen 
who held the helm in Vienna were not a match 
for the calculating business men who were pur- 
suing a " real " policy at Berlin, and who had 
little to do with ideals. 



Kaiser Wilhelm had the good sense to keep 
away from Vienna during the time of the 
annexation crisis. Very few knew the extent of 
his influence in the Austrian capital, nor had 
they any idea how it was exercised. The 
Kaiser was always well informed of everything 
that was happening in Austria, and obtained his 
knowledge by attaching personages like Max 
Egon Fiirstenberg to his person. The Kaiser 
never selected a friend except for the advance- 
ment of his own ends. Prince Max, who had the 
position of a reigning sovereign, without the work 
or responsibilities that were formerly attached 
to the title and possessions, had the entree to all 
the most exclusive houses in Germany and 
Austria-Hungary. Here he shared State secrets 
that it was given only to very few to know. 



Kaiser Wilhelm was quick to see the advantage 
of attaching such a man to his side. The Prince 
was flattered by the monarch's notice, and never 
thought that casual remarks that he let fall were 
treasured up by his Royal host. The German 
Kaiser and the Prince even speculated in stocks 
and shares together, financed companies, and 
indulged in business that was quite legitimate 
for the wealthy Prince, who could afford to lose 
heavily, but very dangerous for a monarch 
whose purse was always exhausted. 

Prince Max, who is easy-going and good- 
humoured, cared little for his failures, but 
Kaiser Wilhelm lost prestige with his people 
through his financial transactions. Prince Max 
was very irresponsible in many ways. Like many 
other Austrians, he failed to see that his country 
was on the edge of a volcano. Things had 
always settled themselves before, and they 
would again, he thought. It is doubtful whether 
he realised that he was a mere tool in the hands 
of the Kaiser, and even if he did so, his sardonic 
coQtempt of life made him indifferent to the un- 
patriotic role that he was playing in giving away 
his country's secrets to her worst enemy. Intel- 
ligent and well-versed in the traditions of his 
family that has produced so many famous men, 
it is probable that Prince Max could have saved 


Austria from falling into the hands of the Ger- 
mans had he realised what was happening. 
Unfortunately, he was too much occupied in 
pursuing the latest craze of the moment to think 
of serious matters. Under his charming manners 
he possessed a certain acumen, but was inclined 
to think the Germans were guided by the same 
motives as he was himself. The over-civilised, 
over-polished man of the world fell an easy 
prey to the cold, calculating monarch on the 
other side of the frontier. 

Prince Max Egon Fiirstenberg was one type 
of the Kaiser's familiars. Count Tchirsky, 
the German Ambassador at Vienna, was the pro- 
totype of the others. The German Ambassador 
in Vienna was the doyen of the Diplomatic 
Corps. Cold-blooded, calculating, deep, he was 
the very embodiment of the Kaiser's ideal poli- 
tician. Tchirsky did not know what scruples 
meant, and his many years' experience of the 
Court of Vienna enabled him to put his fingers 
upon every weakness there. He saw only the 
defects and missed much that was fine in the 
character of the men with whom he had to deal. 
They spoke of him as the " Old Spider " of the 
Metternichgasse, where he had his palace. He 
did not play a leading role in society; visitors to 
Vienna knew but little about him, if indeed they 

Prince Max Egon Furstenberg. 


realised his existence at all. He carried on a 
bitter warfare against the members of the diplo- 
matic body who tried to oppose the Triple 
Alliance. His machinations were less openly, 
but none the less fiercely, directed against Italy, 
the nominal, but unwilling, ally of the Central 
Empires. Tchirsky, a man of dark plots, 
contrived to acquire interest in one of the lead- 
ing Vienna papers. This interest developed 
into the effective control of the organ. He was 
able, thus, under the guise of a newspaper 
attack, to render Vienna almost intolerable for 
any diplomatist whose presence he considered 
detrimental to the welfare of Germany. When 
the Emperor " conspicuously turned his back 
upon the Russian military attache " at a Court 
ball, the fact was recorded with great gusto in 
Tchirsky's paper. The attache, who was 
compromised in a spy case, would have left 
Vienna by the first train on the morrow in any 
case. Emperor Francis Joseph was a soldier 
and no courtier, and when he turned his back 
upon a foreigner there was no mistaking the 
action. It was done squarely and openly. The 
record of the German-owned Press did not im- 
prove the strained relations between Russia and 
Austria-Hungary, for the fact that Germany 
directed the paper's policy was an open secret. 


A pro-English American Ambassador was sub- 
jected to attacks of a kind that could only be 
conceived by the fertile brain of Count 
Tchirsky. The Ambassador was accused of 
being parsimonious, and his personal habits were 
described with an acrimony that showed he had 
a powerful enemy. The coarseness of the lan- 
guage used, too, exposed the source ; only a Prus- 
sian could employ such machinations against 
an enemy. How the Austrians, who prided them- 
selves on their hospitality and their courtesy to 
strangers, could allow such an attack to appear 
can only be explained by the growing helpless- 
ness of their statesmen when confronted by the 
powerful German. Tchirsky further distin- 
guished himself by making an attack through 
the Press upon the wife of the British Ambas- 
sador. How far he was responsible for the 
famous Cartwright interview it is difficult to say. 
The blow, it was known at the time, came from 
Germany. Austrians might have listened to a 
private conversation at a table in Marienbad, 
and put the words uttered by various members 
of the British Colony into shape as their views 
upon the Morocco question, but it needed the 
unscrupulousness of a German to conceive the 
plan of putting the pronouncements into the 
mouth of the British Ambassador. The latter 


was too astonished by the impertinence of the 
act to realise what it meant. Indeed, it is pos- 
sible that the Ambassador's indignant denials of 
ever having entered into any discussion with the 
man who claimed to have obtained the interview 
were suppressed like many other items of news 
and facts. The only denial that did appear was 
late and inadequate. The British, bound by 
traditions, never even suspected that German 
diplomacy could resort to such means for gain- 
ing an advantage. No one realised their abso- 
lute deadness to all sense of morality. When 
Count Tchirsky did sally forth from his 
chilly palace in Vienna, it was to compass the 
undoing of the frivolous Austrians. He would 
exact the payment of a pledge, given 
over wine. Bargains, made in the ball- 
room, were reduced next morning to 
writing, then stored away among the archives 
at Berlin, and the carrying out of the conditions 
— conditions favourable to Germany and disas- 
trous to Austria — would be exacted with the 
cruelty and callousness of a Prussian politician. 
Had" Tchirsky himself hung back, there were 
others to egg him on. The ideal condition of a 
Europe in which Germany was supreme must 
be realised. Any remnants of conscience that 
Tchirsky might have possessed had long 


been stifled by intercourse with his Imperial 
master, who regarded himself as far above all 
moral law. He was the supreme War Lord. 
His word had established a new morality quite 
different from that generally accepted. The 
military training enjoyed by almost all Germans 
made them the more ready to accept this 
point of view. Discipline, enforced until the 
power of independent reflection has been 
lost through want of use, relieved them 
of the necessity of considering the morality 
of their acts. The hymns of praise of 
Germany's successful policy, sung by 
philosophers and by the pastors of religion, 
who were foremost, as usual, in advocating the 
policy of expediency that Germany might be 
exalted, lulled any scruples felt by 
Tchirsky's subordinates. He, himself a sur- 
vival of a former age, was incapable of imagin- 
ing anything of the kind. Truth was what the 
supreme lord decreed to be truth. Honesty was 
merely another word for expediency. The Am- 
bassador was surrounded by a number of men, 
with no reputation to lose, who brought him 
news of every fresh turn of events in Austria- 
Hungary. They cared little that they were 
betraying their country to a hard taskmaster. 
The present benefits of a flourishing banking 


account were ample compensation for their 
treachery. These causes all combined to render 
Tchirsky the least popular man in Vienna. 
When his name was mentioned, every tongue 
was suddenly frozen into silence. Was the 
inquirer a spy ? Did he wish to sound the secret 
feelings of someone present.'* The Viennese 
felt a distrust that was rather instinctive than 
realised. It was the premonition of the closing 
of the brutal hand of German power upon the 
crowd of gay butterflies on the banks of the 

a 2 




While Austria-Hungary, with Germany be- 
hind her, was discussing the tearing up of the 
Treaty of Berlin with the rest of Europe, both 
Powers failed to observe developments that 
were taking place under their very eyes. The 
Austro-Hungarian official sent off to Bosnia or 
Croatia cared very little about the people en- 
trusted to him. His one and only idea was to 
scheme and plan until he obtained his move to 
Vienna. He took no means to detect and watch 
the conspiracies against the Government that 
were being constantly hatched in the cafes of the 
town where he lived. In a fit of sudden and 
uncalled-for energy, he would make a search for 
cups and saucers decorated with the Serb 
colours or vindictively punish the parents of a 
small child for permitting her to wear a Serb 



sash round her waist, instead of a simple piece 
of ribbon. This unexpected activity naturally 
raised the wrath of the Serbo-Croats, the more 
so because really seditious acts frequently 
escaped notice, or, if the administrators knew 
about thern, they avoided taking cognisance of 
them, as it meant the opening up of large ques- 
tions and much trouble with the central authori- 
ties in Vienna. Thus the Serbs, who lived 
under Austrian or Hungarian rule, were often 
permitted to go to great lengths without any 
interference. The sudden swoops of an enraged 
magistrate, who took action rather because the 
plotters had interfered with his personal conve- 
nience than because it was really incumbent 
upon him to do so, produced a feeling of in- 
security among the subject races. They regarded 
the local governor somewhat in the light of a 
dangerous but slumbering beast, and they 
prayed that his slumber might continue undis- 
turbed. Some, however, went the length of try- 
ing to twist his tail, when they knew that he had 
been sent to the provinces in disgrace, as was 
generally the case. If a man had been exiled for 
more serious offences than uncouthness of 
manner, or a failure to respond to the friendly 
advances of the chief's elderly wife, and her 
invitation to shine at her somewhat monotonous 


afternoon teas, the Serbs, who were always well- 
posted in the reasons that led to an official being 
sent to the provinces, felt that he was not. in a 
position to injure them without damaging him- 
self, and behaved accordingly. The eight million 
Young Slavs, as they call themselves, under the 
dominion of Austria or of Hungary have always 
been well organised. When one of their number 
arrives at either Vienna or Budapesth he calls 
round at his Union. Although he may not know 
a single word of German or Hungarian, 
the society find him a job. Accustomed to heavy 
labour, the Serb or Croat is much sought after, 
especially in the lower ranks of service. Time 
goes by, the man-servant or maid-servant has 
learnt the language and is firmly established in 
the household. There is trouble in the home 
because of the failure of a German tailor to keep 
his word. The Slav servant has a relative who 
is willing to undertake the job, although it is 
nearly midnight. He is hastily fetched, and by 
the advice of his friend within the camp fixes his 
charges a trifle below those asked by the Ger- 
man. He remains master of the situation, the 
German being ousted. Gradually the household 
needs are supplied by Slavs, who carry out 
orders promptly and carefully, and have none 
of the supercilious " take it or leave it " manner 


of the German purveyor. The Austrians always 
say " Let one Slav into the house, and they rule 
the ingoings and outgoings for the future." 

The Slav is always an enigma, which years of 
close intercourse cannot solve. His aspirations, 
his outlook on life are a sealed book to the West 
European. The all-pervading and very distinct 
impression which remains is that the Slavs have 
very distinct national aims, which they are pre- 
pared to pursue with an utter persistence and 
ruthlessness, of which no other peoples are 

Just at this period the Young Slavs within the 
Austro-Hungarian realm were making a deter- 
mined effort for liberation. They felt, and felt 
justly, that they were oppressed. They thirsted 
for education and paid large taxes to secure that 
same education in order to enable their children 
to take their places as equals with the dominant 
races. Austria and Hungary both dreaded the 
rise of the Slavs, and restricted their education 
as much as possible, devoting the funds voted 
for the purpose to other objects. 

Things were so bad in this respect that a com- 
mission was sent over from the States to ascer- 
tain how it could be possible at this date in the 
civilisation of the world that such a large pro- 
portion of emigrants to America should be 


illiterate. In some provinces it appeared from 
the Government statistics that 69 per cent, of the 
annual recruits could neither write nor read. The 
lack of education was most felt among the Serbs, 
Croats, Poles and Little Russians. The Slavs, 
who possess an uncommon amount of common- 
sense, felt that this withholding of education was 
immoral, and that it served some deep ulterior 
purpose. The Bohemians, who inhabited a rich 
manufacturing district, by force of much agita- 
tion, were able to enforce their demands for 
education. The Poles were miserably neglected, 
their representatives who attended the Vienna 
Parliament were feted and made much of, and, 
aristocrats themselves for the most part, they 
were easily persuaded to forget the wrongs of 
their people at home. In the Bukowina the 
people were on a low level, and hardly realised 
their position. In Croatia, Dalmatia, and 
especially in Bosnia, things were different. Italy 
was close by, and the Slavs learnt how things 
were managed in that very progressive and 
modern State. Servia and Montenegro were 
governed on lines that contented the peopjes 
there, and the Serbs across the frontier felt that 
they would be better under the rule of King 
Peter than subject to a governor who was so far 
from the centre that he could practically deal 


with them as he pleased. It was seldom that 
the governor really understood the vernacular. 
Being entirely German in his sympathies, he 
naturally felt no interest in the Slav aspirations, 
except a desire to crush them. While Vienna 
was using up her strength in arguing with 
Europe, the Slavs considered that their opportu- 
nity had come for the establishment of a vast 
Slav Empire, consisting of all the countries in- 
habited by Slavs in Southern Austria and 
Hungary, which was to be placed under the rule 
of the King of Servia. 

Negotiations for a union between Monte- 
negro and Servia, for the establishment of a 
common customs tariff, a common army, and for 
the pursuance of a common foreign policy, were 
being carried on. Servia hoped to extend her 
territory to the sea. Whether she thought to 
incorporate the Slavs of Austria and Hungary 
among her people is difficult to say, but she, like 
the rest of South-Eastern Europe, was aware 
that Austria-Hungary was rotten to the core. It 
must in the near future follow Turkey and 
share its fate. As events move much more 
quickly to-day in the epoch of telegrams and 
railways than they did in the period of coaches 
and couriers, a much more rapid dissolution of 
the Empire was to be expected than in the case 


of Turkey that had been tottering for centuries. 
While the Austrian and Hungarian Slavs were 
looking to King Peter to deliver them 
from Austrian and Hungarian tyranny, Austria 
was intriguing, and encouraging the Serbs in 
Servia to rebel. She had as little success with 
the Serbs as with the Italians across the Italian 
frontier, as both peoples are ardently patriotic, 
and even the poorest scorned Austrian gold. 
The determination of the Young Slavs to live 
under the rule of a monarch of their own race 
became strengthened at every fresh proof of the 
effeteness of Austro-Hungarian rule. Them- 
selves strong and virile, they felt that they re- 
quired administrators who could deal with the 
problems that came to them for settlement in the 
rough-and-ready manner peculiar to the other 
side of the border ; they had always completely 
misunderstood the shelving of petitions, the 
cumbersome multiplication of documents, pecu- 
liar to Austro-Hungarian officialdom. Rapid 
justice, even if less correct in the matter of form, 
was preferable, they felt, to the long and un- 
profitable dilatoriness of the proceedings under 
an administration more especially careless in 
dealings with things that concerned people 
living far from the capital. 

Austria-Hungary heard but little of the grow- 


ing discontent in her outlying provinces. Assas- 
sinations and attempts on the lives of adminis- 
trators multiplied, but the rulers in Vienna, busy 
with things nearer home, simply suggested 
" that a heavier weight should be placed upon 
the safety-valve." After an outrage some few- 
ringleaders were hanged, half a dozen news- 
papers suppressed, and then the incident was 
put away with other events of grave portent, 
signs of the times which, however, were not 
allowed to disturb the gaiety of the capital. 



It is difficult to understand the complete in- 
difference with which the growth of the Great 
Servian idea was regarded in Vienna. Eight 
million Serbo-Croats under Austro-Hungarian 
rule were eager to join forces with their brothers 
across the frontier, five million Serbs and Mon- 
tenegrins. Whether the indifference manifested 
at Vienna was owing to the attitude of super- 
cilious contempt of what was going on around 
them which was generally adopted by Austro- 
German officials, or whether they were really 
ignorant of the extent of the movement, it is 
difficult to say. It is possible that politicians, 
who did reflect upon the very evident increase 
of disaffection in the South, merely regarded it 
as an indication that the small Germano- 
Austrian and Magyar minorities must throw in 
their lot with Germany. Certainly the relative 
numbers of Germans and Czechs, of Maygars 



and Serbs were most alarming. Officials in high 
places naturally judged the position more accu- 
rately than could the man in the street, because 
the published statistics giving their relative num- 
bers of Germano-Austrians and Czechs, of 
Serbo-Croats and Magyars, were always mani- 
pulated to such an extent that they were, quite 
useless for scientific purposes. Another set of 
correct figures was kept for the purposes of ad- 
ministration. With an insolent disregard of her 
complete lack of success in ruling the Serbo- 
Croats, Austria-Hungary not only added more 
millions to her realm by annexing Bosnia and 
Herzegowina, but she now embarked on new 
schemes of annexation and colonisation. 

New Turkey had less vitality than the old 
ruin that had just crumbled to pieces. The 
Young Turks, when asked why they had not 
seized their opportunity of securing the benefits 
they so much desired, which had been within 
their grasp, said sadly that appearances were 
deceptive. There had never been a chance of 
regeneration for the country. The same power 
which had promoted the revolution had cor- 
rupted the new Parliament — German money. 
Austrian interference had rendered them mere 
puppets in the hands of unscrupulous Germans. 
They had not realised this until too late. They 


had merely delivered their country over to a 
worse foe than Abdul Hamid, who, whatever his 
vices and faults might have been, acted in his 
own interests and in the interests of Turkey. 
Germany had encouraged the revolution merely 
to precipitate the final ruin of Turkey. She now 
thought that the moment for dissolution could 
not be postponed. Austria, acting for her, pro- 
claimed the fact of Turkey's disintegration upon 
the housetops, and suggested that Albania and 
Macedonia should be made autonomous. The 
proposal sounded fair and just. Everyone knew 
that the Macedonians had been fighting for 
liberty for centuries. The claims of Albania 
were not so clear. Those who lived close to the 
Balkans understood what the news of outrages 
and massacres was worth. Outrages and mas- 
sacres were certainly common enough in both 
Macedonia and Albania, but news from the 
Balkans never penetrates to Mid-Europe, unless 
it is to the advantage of some Great Power that 
it should do so. Indeed, events of great im- 
portance happened in the outlying provinces of 
Austria-Hungary without the rest of Europe 
knowing anything about them. Rebellious 
Poles were shot down in hundreds by dragoons 
in broad daylight. Even in Vienna and Buda- 
pesth the soldiers dealt with the crowd in the 


most brutal manner, killing and wounding 
unarmed citizens. Official telegrams would 
report riots, mentioning a small number of 
injured and one killed Thus it may be under- 
stood that news from the Balkans, especially 
when it dealt with outrages, was always political 
in its aim, and always biassed. Just at this time 
Albanian massacres began to be very frequent. 
Now persons acquainted with Albanians will 
always be very sceptical as to these same mas- 
sacres. The Mohammedan Albanian, a member 
of the predominant race in the country, is 
very frequently a highly polished gentleman. 
He speaks French very fluently of the variety 
spoken at Constantinople and throughout the 
Balkans. Few Europeans can beat him in accu- 
racy ; none come anywhere near him in fluency, 
the result of much practice. He can neither 
read nor write, but having been partially 
educated at Constantinople, he possesses great 
culture. Underneath is the wild man of the 
highlands, who carries on blood feuds with the 
neighbouring tribes, and never hesitates to slay 
a Turkish tax-gatherer at sight. " Turkey," say 
the Serbs, "tried to tax the Albanians for 
thousands of years ; she has never succeeded in 
obtaining a single fara; she commuted the taxa- 
tion for soldiers, and all the finest Turkish 


soldiers are really Albanians." This was literally 
true. Practically all the handsome Turkish 
guards are Albanians, and they have won 
Turkey her reputation for producing splendid 
soldiers. The Albanian, too, is an excellent 
merchant; he can only be compared with the 
Italian for financial capacity. He naturally filled 
many of the important posts under Abdul 
Hamid. Albanians seldom marry into alien 
races. After twenty years spent in Constan- 
tinople, the Albanian returns home to settle 
upon his small farm, if he cannot establish him- 
self upon the ancestral property. It is often a 
mere slip of barren land upon the hillside, where 
ploughing must be done by hand, because no 
horse or mule could keep a foothold on the steep 
slant. He purchases the property and founds a 
family. It is clear that a man of this dis- 
position, with influence at Constantinople, would 
not allow his people to be massacred unavenged. 
If the cunning tax-gatherer dare not approach 
the mountains, even when guarded by a troop of 
Turkish soldiers, it is unlikely that the some- 
what effete men who compose the real Turkish 
army would venture up country merely for the 
sake of massacring odd Albanians. The latter 
seldom congregate in cities, but are scattered far 
and wide throughout a roadless country. The 


Turks sometimes sent large and well-equipped 
expeditions to Albania, to avenge the killing of a 
governor or some other important functionary 
who was misguided enough to venture into their 
midst. These expeditions burnt out villages and 
killed every inhabitant they could lay hands on 
in the approved Turkish fashion. But the result 
of such expeditions was not great. The Alba- 
nians, who have an excellent system of couriers, 
spread the news of any attempt against their 
liberties. The inhabitants took to the moun- 
tains and slaughtered a large proportion of the 
invading force from behind rocks, and from 
almost inaccessible fastnesses among the moun- 
tains. But such expeditions, owing to their cost 
in men and arms, were very rare. Owing to the 
jealousies of Turkey, Austria, and Italy, the 
Albanian never lacked weapons. One nation 
or the other was always ready to supply him 
with munitions to carry on his nefarious plans 
against the others. 

The Christian Albanian is perhaps a trifle 
fiercer than his Mohammedan brother. He has 
not enjoyed the advantages of a long stay in 
Constantinople. He knows the Serb language, 
having learnt it from the wild mountain Serbs 
on the other side of the frontier. He is quite 
savage, like his neighbours. There is little to 



choose between the Miridites and Malissores on 
the Albanian side of the border, and the Monte- 
negrins and Serbs across the mountains. The 
Albanian, in some cases, however, has had a 
chance of improving his general education. He 
is an inveterate emigrant. There is a large 
standing colony of Albanians in the United 
States. In Boston alone there are many 
thousands. They are young men, almost exclu- 
sively, for the Albanian does not take his 
womenfolk with him, nor does he settle beyond 
the ocean. He simply goes abroad to make his 
fortune. He works without ceasing in the 
great factories of the States, he denies himself 
every kind of pleasure, and eats the commonest 
food, prepared in a large eating-house for 
members of his race, and saves continually. 
Existence, supported upon a handful of maize 
or macaroni, cannot be interesting, but he is 
willing to undergo the time of stress for the pur- 
pose of developing into a landed peasant-pro- 
prietor in his own land. He is then permitted 
to marry, and becomes the head of the family. 
His brothers who have tilled the land at home 
are denied the privilege of marriage until much 
later on in life, or maybe never reach a state of 
affluence that permits them to enter wedlock 
at all. 


It gives a foreigner something of a shock to 
hear a handsome brigand fresh from his 
mountains speaking perfect Boston English, 
and using with the utmost assurance words that 
have been buried in oblivion since the time of 

Such is the Albanian of to-day. Reports of 
massacres carefully spread from the Central 
News Bureau, under German influence, at 
Salonica, were not accepted as facts in the 
south-eastern part of Europe. Italians, 
acquainted with the scene of action, reckoned 
up that if the reports issued in the Austrian 
papers were true, every Albanian must have 
been massacred on ten different occasions, 
besides being tortured and wounded times with- 
out number. 

The interest shown by Austria-Hungary and 
Germany in the welfare of Albania was much 
deeper than that shown in Macedonia, because 
Albania commanded the Adriatic. Italy took 
an equally great interest in Albania, and to pre- 
vent any mistake about the final fate of the 
country, began colonising it, planting her 
traders all along the coast. There was a treaty 
between Austria and Italy, to the effect that 
neither country should make any move in 
regard to Albania without consulting the other. 

H 2 


Neither considered that the spirit of the agree- 
ment prevented the carrying on of intrigue. The 
Albanian, skilled in the diplomacy of the East, 
pitted one set of agents against another, and 
stored up rifles of the newest pattern for the 
carrying out of his private vendettas and the 
repulsing of any attempt to civilise him. 

This was the condition of Albania when 
Austria-Hungary thought good to duplicate her 
annexation trick. She proclaimed the autonomy 
of Albania and Macedonia overnight, without 
consulting the other Powers. Her idea of auto- 
nomy was rule under a German prince, who 
would use his influence for his Fatherland. 
Austria meant to make another Bulgaria of 
Macedonia, and another Rumania of Albania. 
Italy protested against this arrangement. She 
objected to the ever-handy German princes 
being placed on thrones near the sea-coast. 
Servia and Montenegro, too, were afraid of 
German influence being extended in Albania, 
and did their best to foment trouble there. 
Servia had long regarded the route over 
Albania as her one chance of an outlet to the 
sea, and saw herself deprived of "her little 
window into the Adriatic " by the plan that 
would make Albania a sphere of Austro- 
German influence. 



Germany and xA.ustria were considering how 
the Turkish Empire could be liquidated in a 
manner to secure the greatest advantage to 
themselves, and in their egoistical view some- 
what neglected the other factors in the situation. 
Russia had great interests in the Balkans. Italy 
was looking towards the time when her surplus 
population could be sent there to colonise the 
rich lands that had been so neglected under the 
rule of the Turks. The third factor — 
which Germany and Austria did not think 
worth considering at all — was the Balkan 
peoples themselves. Under Russian pro- 
tection, they had conceived a grand scheme. 
A Balkan League was formed. Bulgaria; 
Servia, Greece and Montenegro forgot all their 
disputes and became allies. Their Ministers 
drew a map of the Balkans, apportioning out 


among themselves the provinces that then 
belonged to Turkey, the distribution being made 
according to the nationality of the peoples who 
inhabited each district. Each country, they con- 
sidered, was to be ruled over by a king of its 
own nationality, if possible. All the Bulgars in 
Macedonia were to be united under the sceptre 
of King Ferdinand. The Kingdom of Servia 
was to stretch to the Adriatic, Albania was to 
be divided between Montenegro and Servia. 
Both countries would then have fine ports in the 
Adriatic. Greece was to extend her coastline 
considerably. She was to have those parts of 
Macedonia and of Albania that were inhabited 
by Greeks. 

The Bulgarian people were the soul of this 
movement for liberation. King Ferdinand, who 
was always a German at heart, and who ruth- 
lessly betrayed his adopted country to serve 
German interests, was probably dragged into 
the scheme by his enthusiastic people very much 
against his will. The Bulgars who lived in 
Austria and in Hungary boldly said that they 
had been preparing for the war against Turkey 
for forty years. . " Every effort has been made 
by great and small for nearly half a century to 
throw off the Turkish yoke, and at last we shall 
do it," they said. And this in spite of the Ger- 


manophile King. Bulgarian gardeners, who are 
employed all over Eastern Europe because of 
their extraordinary skill, came to Hungary, 
toiled through a lifetime, saving every possible 
penny of their earnings to return home with 
money for the war fund. Their hate of the Turks 
was intense. They wished to free their fellow 
Bulgars, who were oppressed by the Turkish tax- 
gatherers, and who had very little benefit in 
return for years of toil spent in cultivating 
tobacco-fields. While the Bulgars themselves 
were working for an ideal, Ferdinand and his 
Ministers wished to take possession of the rich 
tobacco-lands in Macedonia, which brought 
large revenues to the Turkish State. The 
Bulgars' great enthusiasm was only damped by 
a profound mistrust of their Prince. They knew 
that Ferdinand ranked as one of the best diplo- 
matists in Europe, and were proud to have so 
rich a man upon their throne. But they felt that 
in the difficult enterprise they were about to 
undertake a monarch with more honesty of pur- 
pose would have been fitter to deal with the 

Although the Balkan League was formed 
with the ostensible purpose of freeing Balkan 
lands from Turkish rule, the discontent in the 
Balkans was due to other causes. Montenegro 


had no outlet to the sea that was suitable or big 
enough for her needs. If she had possessed Cat- 
taro, one of the many excellent ports on the 
Hungarian coast, Servian goods could have been 
exported as well as Montenegrin products. It 
was Austria-Hungary who always opposed this. 
If she had allowed the Serbs to send their 
agricultural products to other parts of Europe 
beyond the Austro-Hungarian frontier all would 
have been well. There was a shortage of meat 
in Germany and Italy, as well as in Austria 
itself. But Austria, to please the Hungarian 
agrarians, interfered with all export trade into 
Austria or Germany, and thus made the Slavs 
on the Balkans determined to find an outlet to 
the sea. 

The Balkan war was really the curtain-raiser 
to the Great War. The King of Montenegro 
was the first to begin. His troops were mobilised 
in twenty-four hours. The Balkan League had 
advised him that the war was about to begin, but 
it is more than possible that his very precipitate 
action hastened a war that was not perhaps 
inevitable. The news that Montenegro had 
mobilised was not taken seriously in Vienna. A 
story went the round of the cafes that it was all 
a put-up affair. Nikita, they said, had been 
engaged by Pathe Freres, he was to receive a 


large sum of money for the films of a real 
mobilisation, and perhaps a miniature battle 
with the Turks thrown in. Very soon, however, 
it was seen that the Balkans were in deadly 
earnest. The Austrians, who knew something 
of the fighting qualities of the Turks, never 
doubted that they would have a complete walk- 
over. The Turks had money, they had arms. 
The Balkan peoples had none. Austria was 
perhaps not aware that Germany had supplied 
Bulgaria with large stores of guns and ammuni- 
tion. The poor Balkan people had paid very 
dearly for the antique patterns, and been 
swindled most atrociously over the whole deal. 
The sights of the guns were wrong, and the Bul- 
garian gunners had had no instruction in their 

Servia was supplied with French guns, and 
French gunners accompanied the consignments 
to their destination, and taught the Serbs how 
to manage the complicated weapons. Monte- 
negro was well supplied with ammunition. 
Where did it come from ? The wild mountain 
tribes, both in Montenegro and in Albania, were 
always supplied with the latest thing in rifles 
and full supplies of ammunition. They had 
been disarmed time and time again, but they 
merely surrendered ancient heirlooms, rifles 


that served their grandfathers or great grand- 
fathers. The good weapons were hidden in 
caves in the mountains, or buried until better 
times came, and they could carry them again. 

The first Balkan war began, and the unex- 
pected happened. Turkish troops were routed 
by the Bulgars, who fought with a courage and 
a determination that won them the respect of 
Europe. The Bulgars pushed on to Adrianople, 
but could not take it because the German guns 
were useless. The Bulgars raged against the 
Germans. Did the Germans simply look upon 
them as savages who could be supplied with in- 
ferior goods, or had they supplied the 
guns knowing that they would be used against 
the Turks? Neither Germany nor Austria 
wished the Turks to be defeated. They were 
pleased that the Balkan peoples should be 
weakened by fighting among themselves, but 
were very surprised and disappointed at the 
course taken by the war and the total defeat of 

After the war was over, the Balkan peoples 
began dividing up the spoils. Austria, with 
Germany behind her, interfered in the settle- 
ment. She would not allow Servia to have the 
territory she had conquered in Albania, or any 
outlet to the sea. Servia thereupon demanded 


part of Macedonia, instead of the territory 
assigned her by the preliminary agreement. 
Ferdinand of Bulgaria was inclined to yield 
this, but Austria encouraged him to stand firm, 
promising to help him if he could not defeat 
that handful of savages, the Serbs. Russia, 
who had encouraged the formation of the 
Balkan League, saw that if the States began 
fighting among themselves, they would lose all 
their gains, and publicly advised the Balkan 
kings to refrain from fighting and to be satisfied 
with the land they had conquered. The States 
had enlarged their borders considerably; it 
would take years to consolidate them. Russia 
counselled them to attend to that business first, 
and then think of further conquests. This 
counsel did not please Bulgaria. King Ferdi- 
nand wired to Vienna for advice. Austria-Hun- 
gary and Germany saw their chance. The 
Balkan peoples were disunited. They must be 
encouraged to fight among themselves. Austria, 
acting without Germany, despatched a two- 
thousand word telegram to Ferdinand of Bul- 
garia. It promised an attack upon Servia from 
behind, while she was engaged with Bulgaria 
in front. The preparations made just before 
an army is mobilised were hastily put through. 
Men were warned for active service, and every 


preparation made for starting a Balkan cam- 
paign. V^hen everything was ready Austria- 
Hungary notified her allies. It was soon 
apparent that they refused to join in the cam- 
paign, or even to stand by their ally. 

Italy — as was discovered long after — said 
that the Triple Alliance was defensive, and not 
offensive. She not only refused to aid Austria, 
but would not promise to remain neutral during 
the expedition. Germany, seeing that an 
Austrian expedition to the Balkans meant 
trouble with Italy, persuaded Austria to back 
out of her promise. Germany was not sorry that 
Austrian prestige should suffer. She did every- 
thing she could to discredit her ally in the 

When Bulgaria had been completely beaten 
by her despised neighbour, Serbia, Rumania fell 
upon her from behind and annexed a large 
piece of territory. Ferdinand's treachery to his 
allies had met with the deserved reward. The 
Kaiser had no pity for him, and was not slow 
to point out that whoever relied upon Austria 
was deceived. Had Ferdinand applied to 
Berlin, instead of to Vienna, things would have 
gone differently. 

Ferdinand, broken, aged, a politician who 
has lost his game, a King bereft of territory, 


a soldier who had been defeated, fled from Sofia 
to Vienna. At last he was forced to leave even 
that refuge. If Austria-Hungary had meant to 
leave him to unravel the tangled skein she had 
encouraged him to weave, she should have told 
him so before, and not abandoned him in the 
darkest hour of his life. The Emperor felt the 
justice of the reproaches that Ferdinand made 
him. He wished to be rid of the troublesome 
monarch. The Vienna Press was let loose upon 
Ferdinand. Stories to his discredit were circu- 
lated everywhere. While his wife comforted 
the wounded, said the leading papers, he stayed 
in the capital because he was afraid to return. 
He spent his time in frivolity, joking with ballet 
girls behind the scenes, while his consort was 
purchasing artificial limbs for the maimed from 
the money that should have been devoted to her 
own personal uses. Ferdinand soon discovered 
that in Vienna, as elsewhere, nothing succeeds 
like success, and that failures are not wanted, 
either there or in other foreign countries. He 
crept back to his summer palace, had the guards 
doubled, and lived in fear and trembling. His 
throne was so shaken that it seemed very doubt- 
ful whether it would regain its equilibrium. 

In disavowing Ferdinand Austria-Hungary 
lost her influence in the Balkans. 


At this period Russia and Italy, the new 
Balkan Powers, were in the ascendant. Austria 
advised Ferdinand to wait his time, when Bul- 
garia would be able to take vengeance upon her 
neighbours, and reap the reward of her 
treachery. Ferdinand, thoroughly tired of 
promises, and bitterly regretting his treachery to 
his allies, which had brought him the reward 
he so richly deserved, thanked fate that his wife 
and sons were popular in the country, and that 
he could leave for his Hungarian estates. He 
was sure that they could look after the interests 
of the dynasty much better during his absence 
than when he was there, only able to make 
lame explanations of his conduct in the past 
and his inexplicable quarrel with the other 
Balkan States. 



King Ferdinand was an interesting- study 
as he crept away from Vienna, all his hopes 
bankrupt, his people's future compromised. 
The people there considered him almost one of 
themselves, for the Coburgs had always lived in 
Vienna. Prince Philip had a palace that com- 
manded a fine view right across the Rings- 
strasse. His brother Ferdinand lived there 
when he came to Vienna, and was thus able 
to come to and fro, incognito, whenever he 
pleased. The rest of Europe had no idea of 
the frequency of his visits to the capital. Per- 
haps it was only the theatre-managers who 
really were aware how often he was present in 
a capital where everyone was at liberty to come 
and go, unmolested by the crowd, unless he 
came as a monarch in state, when the Viennese 
were the first to acclaim one of their children 
"who had gone so far in the world," as they 
expressed it. The general feeling in the city was 


that Ferdinand was a great artist in diplomacy, 
perhaps the greatest in Europe. In the capital 
of Austria he met many statesmen who came 
there — to the "very edge of civilisation," as 
they put it — to confer upon the problems that 
then troubled Europe. Kaiser Wilhelm fre- 
quently rushed through to Vienna in his auto- 
mobile, without warning, and took part in a 
short discussion of the situation, at which 
Ferdinand assisted on many occasions. Kaiser 
Wilhelm, with his usual astuteness, understood 
how to manage Ferdinand. He did not need 
money; that was a great relief to the Kaiser, 
who was invariably short of it himself. The 
Coburg family fortune was sufficient to provide 
for all his private wants on a liberal scale. 
There is not the slightest doubt that Ferdinand 
would have lost his throne long before had he 
been forced to ask his subjects for money to 
supply his personal needs. His independence 
in this respect placed him on a footing with the 
proudest monarchs in Europe. Kaiser Wil- 
helm, prodigal of things that cost him nothing, 
was able to lavish his gifts of wondering ad- 
miration upon the King of Bulgaria. He tact- 
fully praised qualities that his friends imagined 
they possessed, and his delicate flattery of his 
best " democratic " manner, that seemed to say 


there was no difference in rank at all between 
the king of a Balkan State and the Emperor 
of Germany, made Ferdinand a puppet in his 
hands. Wilhelm flattered him into seeing things 
with his eyes, and mesmerised the dazzled 
monarch, who had been a poor lieutenant, 
into thinking that he was really being taken 
into the confidence of German statesmen and 
allowed to read the secret thoughts of the great 
War Lord himself. The other Balkan sove- 
reigns, who had a clearer idea of the reality of 
things, could not have been gulled so easily. 
They would have realised that there was a 
reason for this preference, shown only of recent 
years, for a man who commanded the route to 
Constantinople. Ferdinand, student of political 
history, a consummate diplomatist, was, never- 
theless, blinded by the Kaiser, who appeared so 
simple — indeed, almost childlike — in his aims, 
and so far removed from the world of diplo- 
matists to which Ferdinand belonged. This 
apparent simplicity of character, which has 
puzzled so many, is due to a warped mind. 
Kaiser Wilhelm has long considered that 
nothing mattered compared with the glorifica- 
tion of Germany. The Almighty he con- 
sidered had entrusted him with the task of 
elevating the German nation. It was the 


supreme people of the earth. It ought to be 
raised to a position which would make all other 
people subservient to it, and the humble instru- 
ment for this work was himself. He thus con- 
sidered himself at liberty to break any law that 
stood in his way, and, being a firm believer in 
the creed that the end justifies the means, he 
was able to impress even people of great and 
unusual acumen with a sense of his probity. 
King Ferdinand would not trust the King of 
Montenegro, although Nikita was an open- 
handed, open-hearted old mountaineer. He 
was, however, quite willing to accept Kaiser 
Wilhelm's estimate of himself as a man with a 
single aim that must be accomplished at any 
cost. The King of Bulgaria prided himself 
upon being the "Little Czar" of the Balkans, 
and aped the great Russian Czar in many ways. 
He was naturally encouraged in this by Ger- 
many. His insatiate vanity prevented him from 
seeing that the delicate flattery poured into his 
ears by German diplomatists was merely dic- 
tated by self-interest. They wished to detach 
him from Austria and secure the allegiance of 
Bulgaria for Germany, to the detriment of 
Emperor Francis Joseph and his prestige 
among the Balkan peoples. Ferdinand would 
swallow any bait, walk into any trap, if an 


appeal to his vanity were made. Order after 
order was bestowed upon him; he received so 
many decorations that his uniform shone like a 
coat of mail with the small medals that are worn 
instead of the large originals. When h^ made 
his triumphal progress to Vienna for the first 
time in his new capacity as king, his tunic was 
one mass of sparkling Orders. The Viennese, 
who are accustomed to decorations on a whole- 
sale scale, as they are conferred for very slight 
services in Austria-Hungary, and worn with 
great ostentation by all and sundry at the Court, 
said he glittered and sparkled like a dancing 
girl at a fair. They were quick to mark the 
point where the grandiose becomes ridiculous. 
They saw that a king so overloaded with 
Orders was absurd, not regal. " But, after all, 
for the Balkans — perhaps it impresses those 
savages down there at Sofia," and with a shrug 
of their shoulders they turned to look at his 
handsome sons, Slavonic in type, and without 
decorations; for Ferdinand never allowed his 
sons to play a leading role in any way. They 
were simple soldiers, who might mingle with the 
people and play the democrat while he acted the 
sovereign lord. 

The sons made a much better impression 
upon the populace than the father. They 

I 2 


seemed to fit the frame into which they were 
born much better than the king who had been 
transported from living among the gayest and 
most cynical people in Europe to deal with the 
crude realities of the Balkans. Ferdinand had 
left his country repeatedly when the fear of 
assassination was too much for him. He has 
always been a coward. Even his soldierly 
training did not give him a grasp of what is 
expected of a man and a monarch. Like Kaiser 
Wilhelm, he always wore a mailed shirt or 
some other form of armour. Like Kaiser Wil- 
helm, he felt peculiarly safe in Vienna, as the 
police system is so perfect that any attempt 
upon the life of a monarch is almost impossible. 
They manage to keep a record of the business 
of every person who comes to the city. No 
suspects dare venture into the zone controlled 
by the Vienna police. The Austrian Emperor, 
as long as his health allowed, strolled about the 
city quite unconcerned for any danger. Kaiser 
Wilhelm found, too, that he could promenade 
unguarded, simply because the police had 
eliminated all chance of trouble. After the 
perils of Sofia Ferdinand enjoyed this feeling 
of complete security among the light-hearted 
Viennese. He would never have definitely 
broken with the Emperor of Austria, because 


his favourite retreat would have been closed to 
him for ever. He had the feeling deep in his 
heart that he might be forced to abdicate at any 
moment. Then Austria would afford him 
shelter. There he could keep up his state, 
receive the respect and homage due to one who 
had been king and retain his amour fropre. 

It is probable that Ferdinand had but a low 
estimate of the intellectual attainments and the 
mental grasp of the Emperor of Austria him- 
self. Like all the members of a younger 
generation who listened to the wisdom of Kaiser 
Wilhelm, he regarded him as " played out" and 
a " back number." This made him an easier 
tool in the hands of Kaiser Wilhelm, and also 
led to his getting a reputation for treachery 
which perhaps he did not wholly deserve. 
There was a very general feeling in Austria- 
Hungary which was sedulously fostered by 
Kaiser Wilhelm and his agents that promises 
made to the aged Emperor were not binding. 
They were only given to humour the old man, 
who was already in his dotage. Ferdinand of 
Bulgaria on several occasions failed to keep his 
engagements to the Emperor, although they had 
been solemnly made. Kaiser Wilhelm con- 
trived to make Ferdinand and others besides 
see that the aged Emperor was not a factor to 


be reckoned with seriously, and that the Empire 
was crumbling visibly. He and Germany were 
all that mattered in Europe. These influences 
go far to explain Ferdinand's policy during the 
Balkan war and afterwards. A man who can 
be led by his vanity is unfit for any position of 
importance, and still less to rule with an abso- 
lute sway such as he exercised in Bulgaria. 
His Parliament, which should have exercised a 
restraining influence, was rendered useless, as 
the leading members could be "bought" at any 
time. Ready money is rare in the Balkans, and 
the Austrian diplomatist knew full well the price 
of every politician at Sofia. It was amazingly 
small. Sometimes they stood out for an Order 
as well as money as the price of their dishonour, 
but as a rule money was sufficient to buy them 
to betray their country. It is surprising that 
men who had risen straight from the soil should 
have shown themselves so venial, but they had 
the example of their king before them, and this 
explains much. The atmosphere at Sofia was 
one of intrigue and crime. No one could stand 
against it. The common people, sturdy 
peasants, dimly comprehended that their king 
was not doing the best for them. They wished 
to join in any plot for his undoing that might 
be suggested to them. They looked towards 


the Czar of All the Russias to deliver them 
from a distasteful alliance with Germany and 
Austria-Hungary. This made Ferdinand 
anxious to conciliate Russia if he wished to 
retain the sympathies of his people. The Aus- 
trians failed to understand these " extra tours," 
as they called Ferdinand's sudden volte-face 
in favour of Russia and the Slavs. The 
Viennese, although they liked him, mistrusted 
him profoundly. Just as some strange instinct 
led them to suspect the bluff friendliness of 
Kaiser Wilhelm, they regarded Ferdinand as 
an unknown book — a book of possibilities that 
might be to their advantage or might betray 
them to Russia, for both Germany and Austria- 
Hungary regarded the growing Russian menace 
with fear — a fear perhaps shared by Ferdinand, 
who had seen that Servia and Montenegro, who 
trusted implicitly to Russia, had accomplished 
much of their aims. They had fulfilled many 
of their aspirations, and were in a fair way to 
realise the rest. Ferdinand, instead of obtain- 
ing advantages for his country, was now bribed 
to quiescence and silence by a new honour. The 
Golden Fleece was conferred upon him. This 
gratification of his vanity bound him closer to 
Austria-Hungary, for he owed the decoration to 
the good offices of Emperor Francis Joseph. 



The Powers of Europe decided that Albania 
should be constituted an independent kingdom, 
and a king chosen from among the European 
princes. The new ruler was to belong to some 
family that had possessed sovereign rights in the 
past, and this limited the choice very much. He 
was to come to his new home with all the lustre 
lent by the acknowledgment of his fellow rulers 
to one of equal birth. Many candidates, more 
or less suitable, were ready to accept the throne. 
Europe discussed their relative merits. The 
only people who had no voice at all in the 
matter were the Albanians themselves. They 
naturally did not want a sovereign chosen by 
the Powers, but one selected by themselves. 
They frankly said a complete stranger should 
be chosen, as the Roman Catholic tribes would 
not acknowledge the domination of a Moham- 



medan; the Mohammedans would object to the 
chief of one of the Christian tribes; and the 
Greeks would submit to neither. Europe knew 
full well that the task of civilising the nation 
would be no easy one, and it was generally 
thought that the life of the new king would not 
be worth a month's purchase. Some of the mal- 
contents were certain to attempt his life, almost 
as certain to succeed in killing him. Other 
people said that the task of ruling over Albania 
need not be more difficult than that of civilising 
Rumania or Bulgaria, and that it was only a 
question of finding the right man. Unfortu- 
nately, the Powers did not act loyally towards 
the new country. They made no attempt to 
study the interests of the population, but sought 
a ruler whose selection should provoke the 
minimum of objection from the other Powers. 
Germany wanted to place a German prince 
on the throne. Italy naturally objected to any 
man who would be a mere puppet in the hands 
of Austria or Germany. Austria objected to any 
Italian candidates. Finally the Powers agreed 
to accept a prince of irreproachable reputation 
and sprung from a very old family, but utterly 
devoid of brains. The Prince von Wied 
was selected for his lack of any prominent 
characteristics. The new prince had the out- 


ward appearance of a monarch, being extremely 
tall and handsome, while his reputation as a 
military man left nothing to be desired. Nothing 
had ever been heard of him outside or indeed 
inside Germany, and the news was soon circu- 
lated in the inner circles of diplomacy that he 
had simply been selected as a figure-head. It 
was never expected that he would accomplish 
anything in any way. He had spent his life in 
German military circles and was the " ideal 
officer." Like most of his brethren in arms, he 
was empty-headed, possessed of an intelligence 
below the average, and spent his time in look- 
ing after his estates. This negative information 
was not unsatisfactory. The most important 
fact about the prince was carefully concealed, 
however. He was deep in debt. This was common 
among the young German officers, but whereas 
their debts were limited by the fact that pur- 
veyors refused to trust them, the Prince of 
Wied was heavily involved. The Albanians, 
who had agents all over Europe, discovered his 
predicament. They considered that a Balkan 
king must possess a fortune of his own, as they 
did not wish to pay a large civil list. All the 
Balkan princes who had come as strangers into 
the land brought riches and not debts with 
them. This gave them weight, not only among 


their peers, but also among their subjects. A 
prince or king cannot be a pauper. Quite apart 
from minor considerations, his monetary diffi- 
culties would make him venial. The Albanians, 
accustomed to bribery and to rulers of very 
questionable morality, openly voiced this objec- 
tion. They had no opinion of German or any 
other probity when exposed to temptation. The 
Italians in Albania, who had hoped for an 
Italian duke to forward their interests, did 
their best to exaggerate the financial straits of 
the Prince von Wied. While many stories about 
his poverty were heard, nothing was said about 
the family estates, which had been sufficient 
guarantee for the moneylenders. The money- 
lenders, who were ready to trust the Prince of 
Wied indefinitely, refused however to leave their 
money with a Balkan prince; that was a 
different matter. Jokes were heard in the 
cafes about the "pauper king" and Europe's 
appointment of a " beggar sovereign." The 
Servians, whose kings were poor but honest, 
openly derided the new importation. All these 
reports spread throughout Albania like wild- 
fire. It is remarkable that news is circulated 
much more quickly in Albania than in civilised 
countries. It is always the salient facts that 
are seized upon, unimportant details being 


neglected in a manner peculiar to people who 
can neither read nor write, and whose heads are 
therefore phenomenally clear. Descriptions of 
the Prince, allusions to his martial figure, were 
good enough for the German papers. 

Albania did not heed them. She knew that she 
was to be governed by a man who knew no word 
of the language, who brought no troops with 
him, and who not only had no money but was 
deep in debt. It was not thus that Albania 
pictured her king. She would even prefer to live 
under the domination of one of the native 
princes, who would have been as successful as 
the King of Montenegro in keeping his subjects 
in due order. There were several of these men 
who could have mounted the throne, and who 
would have known how to wield the sceptre. It 
did not suit Europe to create an independent 
Albania, however. Neither Italy nor Austria 
really wished the new venture to be a success, 
as they desired to share Albania, dividing it into 
two spheres of influence. 

Prince von Wied had one saving virtue — he 
was modest and had no delusions on the subject 
of his capabilities. He hesitated greatly before 
accepting the charge. Alone, he would never 
have assumed the office thrust upon him. Un- 
fortunately, he had a wife who was both ambi- 


tious and lacking in intelligence. The Princess 
of Wied imagined that the Albanians could be 
ruled by the introduction of the same methods 
that impressed the intellectual circles in a Ger- 
man town. She was accustomed to preside over 
a number of ladies, " seekers of culture," and 
thought that she could exercise a similar in- 
fluence over the Albanians. Neither she nor her 
husband realised that, when 'they left Germany 
for Albania, they were stepping right out of the 
twentieth century into the tenth. They both 
imagined that the Albanians would be im- 
pressed by the antique furniture which they sent 
on in advance to furnish the villa at Durazzo, 
not realising that the Albanians, accustomed to 
all the pomp of the Turkish pasha, simply re- 
garded their " antiques" as a collection of 
quaint-looking lumber. The Albanians were 
correct in their estimate, for the objects which 
Princess von Wied considered so valuable were 
seen to be mere rubbish by the connoisseur. 
The Vienna furnishers who came down to 
arrange for the arrival of the new Prince, were 
horrified at the condition in which they found 
the palace. It was built, like all Albanian 
houses, as a kind of fortess. There were no 
windows at all on the lower floors. Loopholes, 
from which the muzzles of guns projected, 


served instead of windows. Large apertures 
were too dangerous in a country inhabited by 
natives who were in the habit of potting-at the 
occupants of rooms on the ground floor. Inside 
the immense barn-like house the Vienna fur- 
nishers found vermin of all sorts. This is 
common in Albania, but the state of the palace 
was such that it should have warned 
them that the coming Prince was not 
popular, for they might have known that the 
rats had been introduced into the apart- 
ments as a protest. The rat-holes v/ere hastily 
stopped up with cement, the mildewed walls 
were draped with costly hangings, but the work- 
men who were taken down for the job felt that 
it was no place either for a lady or children, 
and said so freely. Although they could not 
speak the Albanian language, they felt the anti- 
pathy of the natives. They were aware of the 
opposition that showed itself in a hundred 
different ways, too small to particularise, but all 
of which revealed dangers and difficulties for 
the new monarch. 

The Prince made a round of the chief Courts 
of Europe, before reaching his new country. 
His fellow sovereigns were willing to do all 
they could to give him a good " send-off," and 
he was feted everywhere. Diplomatists, accus- 


tomed to judging men, thought very 
poorly of his chances of success. He 
had numberless opportunities of finding 
out something about his future subjects. 
Men fresh from the Balkans were invited to 
meet him, but he did not care to avail himself 
of their information. Neither did he consult 
any statesmen of experience as to how he should 
act in any given circumstances; he appeared to 
think that he would know all this by instinct 
when once he had assumed the crown. Thus 
those accustomed to the cares of State watched 
the new man depart with strong misgivings. 

The manner of his arrival was the initial 
mistake. He slipped into his new kingdom 
almost unannounced. He sneaked into the 
country like a political refugee who wishes to 
avoid the notice of the police. A handful of 
Albanians, gathered together at the last moment, 
shouted " Hurrah ! " when he appeared, but 
even their enthusiasm was purchased, and not 
having been paid for on the usual scale, was cor- 
respondingly feeble and ineffectual. After 
making this unfortunate entry, the Prince 
settled down to do — nothing. The Albanians 
had learnt that the money given by the Powers 
for the administration of Albania had been ap- 
plied to pay the Prince's private debts, as the 


creditors had refused to allow him to leave Ger- 
many with his obligations unsettled; and they 
refused to welcome him. The Princess deco- 
rated her house, and attended to the furnishing 
of rooms for her children. She, at least, was 
delighted at the chance of being able to play at 
being a real Princess. The Prince himself was 
less contented. He was doubtful of the inten- 
tions of Essad Pasha, and confused by the 
different instructions he had received. Kaiser 
W^ilhelm had promised to stand by him in 
his usual " shining armour " fashion, if he did 
exactly as the German envoy suggested. The 
Prince, however, was shrewd enough to see that 
German influence was of little value in the 
Balkans. Italy was evidently the dominant 
Power in Albania. Her agents had spent money 
freely. The Prince had reason to believe that 
Austria and Germany had also made large ex- 
penditures on the glorious work of colonisation, 
but he failed to observe the fruits. The younger 
generation of Albanians spoke Italian, which 
was taught in the schools. Proficiency in Italian 
was necessary for all who engaged in commerce 
and trade, as all the coasting business was with 
Italy. Although attempts had been made to 
establish schools where instruction was imparted 
in German, they refused to attend them and were 


very averse to adopting German habits or cus- 
toms. While the Prince spent his time in avoid- 
ing complications, by remaining within the 
palace, the Princess conferred with Viennese 
decorators about the furnishing. This naturally 
prejudiced the local workmen, and showed that 
she had not any grasp of the first duties of a 
ruling princess. Shortly after the arrival of the 
new Royal family, news was received that 
Albanian insurgents were advancing upon the 
capital. No one knew what they wanted. It is 
doubtful whether they knew themselves. They 
were aware that there was loot to be had in the 
palace. Perhaps that was the secret of then 
coming. The Prince, who had insisted upon two 
warships being stationed off Durazzo, now tele- 
graphed for aid. More ships were sent. The 
Powers regarded this as unnecessary — Durazzo 
is situated at the farther end of a peninsula. 
The only path between Durazzo and the main- 
land is over a bottomless morass. The insur- 
gents could only approach the place in single 
file and the approach to the palace could be 
swept by the cannon on the warships. 

The Albanian insurgents might attempt a 
surprise attack, but all through the night search- 
lights swept the narrow neck of land that led to 



The Prince was afraid of the unknown. 
Away from drill books and civilisation, he was 
quite helpless. It was at this critical moment 
that one of the cleverest diplomatists in Europe 
— the Italian Minister, Alliotto — who had been 
sent to Albania with a watching brief, played 
his trump card. When the danger seemed 
worst, he persuaded the Prince to flee. The 
"modern knight," the representative of up-to- 
date chivalry as practised in the Guards m 
Berlin, actually fled from his new country and 
took refuge on the battleship. After several 
hours' stay on the ship nothing happened, and he 
realised that he had been fooled by the astute 
diplomatist. The palace was not looted, could 
never have been looted, with the guns from the 
warships turned upon the twisting path across 
the marshes. No single Albanian insurgent 
could reach the spot. He left his wife and 
children in safety, and returned to the capital 
he had left, to resume a crown as one resumes an 
umbrella laid down at the club. He was re- 
ceived with derision. All Europe had got news 
of his flight. The Italian diplomatist had taken 
care of that. Photographs were taken on the 
spot. They showed the Prince leaving the palace 
in a panic and getting into the ship's boat, and 
afterwards climbing up the side of the ship. 


They were circulated through the European 
Press. Pictures of the palace, and of the small 
groups of tatterdemalions who had forced a 
German Prince and military expert to abdicate, 
were sown broadcast. Europe did not know 
that a swift little Italian boat had been waiting 
for weeks to carry away the news. The Italians 
knew that Germany and Austria would contra- 
dict the news of the Prince's flight. So they 
said : " Photographs cannot be contradicted. 
Let us have plenty." 

The Prince was the laughing-stock of 
Europe. He was forced to abdicate. Even 
the Kaiser felt he could not advise him to re- 
main on the throne after the painful incident. 
He did not even dare to return to Germany, but 
spent months in Italy, travelling, before he 
cared to face the music at Berlin. Germany and 
Austria had played against Italy for diplomatic 
supremacy in Albania. Italy had won all along 
the line. Not only had she succeeded in dis- 
gracing the German princelet, she had attained 
her own object, too — lowering Austrian prestige 
in the Balkans and raising her own. 

K 2 



The most interesting figure in South-Eastern 
Europe was King Nikita. He ruled over the 
smallest patch of country that can call itself a 
kingdom, but he is, perhaps, a more consum- 
mate diplomatist than any of his fellow Balkan 
monarchs who have been swayed by the King 
of Montenegro without suspecting it. He has 
great influence in a number of countries. This 
is due to his extraordinary foresight. He had 
a family of girls, who came of untainted stock, 
with a family reputation for sound health, both 
physical and mental. Surrounded by his hand- 
some family, he realised that Europe was tired 
of German princesses— that their presence in 
every Court of Europe was unpleasing to many 
monarchs, who did not wish German women to 
know State secrets and to be in a position to 
pass them on to powerful relatives at home. 


He appears to have made a complete study of 
the subject of royal marriages. His girls, un- 
like the ordinary Balkan princesses, were 
brought up very simply. It is even reported 
that they were able to milk the cows and goats 
that strayed near the country home where they 
were educated. They had a training in prac- 
tical housework, which took the place of the 
frivolities that usually go to make up prin- 
cesses' lives. When they became of marriage- 
able age, Nikita secluded them more carefully 
than before. No breath of scandal ever touched 
them. But their good qualities were reported 
far and wide, and did not escape those monarchs 
who were in search of a wife for the heir to the 
throne. Nikita managed to secure the throne of 
Italy for one daughter. The Italians are always 
grateful to the King for bestowing his daughter 
upon their ruler. The children that have been 
born to him are healthy beyond those of any of 
the aristocrats that surround the throne, for they 
inherit the sound constitution of their grand- 
father, the heartiest and halest man in Europe. 
The Grand Duke who took a daughter of the 
King of Montenegro to preside over his vast 
estates in Russia has never regretted his choice. 
Although both men have a needy father-in-law, 
and perhaps grudge the money that frequently 


flows to Cettinje, they have secured wives with' 
virtues that are worth much gold. The King 
of Montenegro enjoyed immunity from attack 
because of his highly placed sons-in-law, and 
was able to play a part in the politics of Europe 
that would not have been possible under other 
circumstances. After having taken the title of 
King instead of Prince, he came to Vienna to 
pay his first visit in the new capacity. Emperor 
Francis Joseph, ever ready to support all digni- 
taries, received him in a worthy manner, putting 
a suite of rooms reserved for kings at his dis- 
posal. King Nikita, who was seldom seen in 
Vienna, was decidedly popular, and the crowd 
showed great enthusiasm in welcoming him. 
He managed to enhance the importance of his 
visit by a circumstance that caused much specu- 
lation at the time. It was arranged that Nikita 
should go to the races and watch the Austrian 
" Derby," the closing event of the early summer 
season. He was accompanied by Archduke 
Francis Ferdinand and Duchess Hohenberg 
and a number of other members of the Imperial 
family, who always crowded into the Imperial box 
at the races, as they are all intensely interested 
in all that concerns horses. The King of 
Montenegro is also interested in everything 
connected with outdoor sports, and looked for- 


ward to the event. Early on that Sunday 
morning the rumour was circulated in Vienna 
that an attempt was to be made upon the life of 
the visitor. Why anyone should wish to assas- 
sinate the King of Montenegro was a mystery 
— whether the King had the report circulated 
himself to increase his importance, or what it 
meant, was not clear. All Vienna hurried 
down, in spite of the blazing heat; no one 
wished to be absent at such a time. The police 
had taken precautions, which showed that they 
at least anticipated something. Every visitor 
to the Imperial enclosure had to walk through 
a long line of detectives and diplomatic agents. 
If none of them recognised him, he was fol- 
lowed and carefully hustled, as if by accident, 
into a corner far off the Imperial box. Other 
detectives crowded him and ascertained whether 
he had a bomb about his person by bumping 
against him. Persons in official capacities were, 
on the contrary, propelled as if by some unseen 
force to the front of the box, where they were 
forced to remain by pure physical pressure of 
the cordon of police in plain clothes, in spite 
of the blazing sun that beat down on the race- 
course. The old King came into the box. 
Duchess Hohenberg sat at his right, and enter- 
tained him in her best and most vivacious 


manner. He greatly appreciated the trouble 
that she was taking with him in pointing out the 
different horses and telling him which colours 
belonged to this great aristocrat or that great 
politician. Archduchess Maria Annunziata, the 
abbess of a Bohemian convent, who had been 
charged with the task of conversing with the 
King, was only too willing to relinquish her 
seat of honour and to retire to the back to 
watch the racing with one of the juvenile Arch- 
dukes. The King watched the pretty woman 
by his side with admiration; her animation 
pleased him. Nikita felt in his element, the 
most important man in the place. He did not 
cut a bad figure even among the Austrian and 
Hungarian Archdukes, who are finely-built 
men, many of them being extraordinarily hand- 
some. After the event of the afternoon was 
run and the cheering had ceased, the King, 
Archduke and Duchess departed, as is the 
custom of royalty. The members of the Im- 
perial family stayed to watch the rest of the 
events, and only left five minutes before the 

Upon the departure of the King and the 
Archduke the police cordon immediately re- 
laxed. Persons who had been sandwiched in 
to form part of the buffer that protected the 


Imperial box had free passage. The feeling of 
oppression, of expectation, relaxed. But still 
there was no explanation of the mysterious 
threats against the life of so unimportant a 
sovereign as the King of Montenegro. In the 
light of after events it occurred to many who 
assisted at that running of the Derby that it 
was the life of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand 
which was sought on that day. It was the first 
time for many months that he had appeared in 
public, and the dislike felt for him both by the 
people and by his near relatives had reached 
a dangerous pitch. No such tragedy as hap- 
pened later at Sarajevo took place simply 
because the Austrian police was so efficiently 
organised and so powerful that it could prevent 
anything of the sort by a process of elimina- 
tion. The same process might be witnessed 
every summer in Ischl, where no one was 
allowed to take up his residence unless he could 
give a satisfactory account of himself to the 
police. This was easy in Austria-Hungary, as 
there was no shifting population to be dealt 
with. An exact record of the past life of every 
person resident within the empire is kept. All 
suspects are watched. Thus Austria was the 
safest place in Europe for monarchs. 

King Nikita departed as he had arrived, amid 


the acclamations of the population. He had 
been gratified by the invitation, and King Peter 
of Servia had been correspondingly humiliated. 
He had never been invited to come to the 
Austro-Hungarian Court. This was a standing 
source of annoyance to the Serbs, who con- 
sidered that it would have given him the pres- 
tige that he somehow lacked. They considered 
that the tragedy that had preceded his accession 
to the throne should be forgotten after the lapse 
of years. Emperor Francis Joseph, one of 
whose chief aims in life is the maintenance of 
the dignity of rulers and the magnifying of the 
vocation of kings, did not take this view. He 
said that as long as he lived King Peter should 
never come to Vienna. It would, perhaps, have 
been better had less been done to honour the 
King of Montenegro under these circumstances. 
In this and many other trifling affairs the 
wounds already inflicted upon Servian amour 
frofre were kept open instead of being allowed 
to heal. 



The numbers of emigrants to Canada, the 
States, and South America had been increasing 
in an alarming manner for many years. The 
large band of men who left their country 
might be divided into two classes. The larger 
class was composed of men who, weary of living 
under Austro-Hungarian administration, left the 
country for good, worked for money to build up 
a new home beyond the seas, and subsequently 
sent money to pay the fares of their wives and 
children, or other relatives to the new country. 

The second class of emigrant that swelled 
the returns was the " season emigrant." He left 
for one, two, or three years, supported his family 
at home while working abroad, and returned 
with his savings at the end of the time to enrich 
the country of his birth. This class of man 


increased the prosperity of the country. The 
American Government encouraged the per- 
manent emigrant and objected to the " season " 
emigrant, who refused to become naturalised, 
and formed part of a large foreign element that 
it always regarded as potentially dangerous. 
The Austro-Hungarian Government, on the 
contrary, naturally encouraged the " season " 
emigrant, and did everything possible to deter 
men from agricultural countries from emigrating 

During the Balkan wars the subject-races, 
always oppressed by the Central Government, 
were subjected to much harsh treatment because 
disorders were feared. Repressive measures 
were carried out very cruelly ; no allowance was 
made for race and natural sympathy with their 
relatives across the border. The governors 
cared nothing if they could cow the population 
into obedience. The more independent spirits 
naturally escaped beyond the seas to avoid per- 
secution. The mobilisation and the long time 
that the army remained on the frontiers made 
the Slavs fear that a war was coming. They 
did not desire to fight against the Serbs nor the 
Russians. The Austro-Italians who inhabit the 
southern coast-line and man the Austro-Hun- 
garian fleet did not wish to be called upon to 


fight against Italy. Thus almost all the in- 
habitants near the coast considered it better to 
get away while they could, and emigration on 
a vast scale began. Whole regions were de- 
populated. It was impossible to move off the 
main route of travel in Austria-Hungary at this 
period without being literally besieged by 
would-be emigrants. How could they learn 
English.^ Could it be done by correspond- 
ence ? What other qualifications were necessary 
for emigrants to the States ? It seemed as if the 
whole agricultural population was packing up 
to leave. 

The Emperor once wished to send some rare 
game to New Zealand, and asked for a couple 
of men to accompany them. The entire country- 
side offered to travel with them to the far-off 
land, intending never to return. Istria, Hun- 
gary, Galicia, and the Bukowina swarmed with 
emigration agents. These agents were quite 
unscrupulous in their methods. They simply 
desired to make money quickly. They got the 
usual bonus from the companies on each emi- 
grant induced to travel by their line, and besides 
were subsidised by big companies who wished 
to populate large tracts of land abroad. These 
companies promised the emigrants free hold- 
ings. The peasant, who was greedy for free- 


hold land, naturally jumped at the offer, and 
left his village without much persuasion. The 
agents, knowing full well that the Austro-Hun- 
garian Government must not get information as 
to the way in which the country was being 
literally bled of its best military material, 
shipped the young men of military age via 
Bremen or Hamburg. The wives and children 
went via Trieste or Fiume. Thus the figures 
sent in to the Austro-Hungarian Government 
gave no indication of what was going on. This 
business went on undetected for about ten 

Suddenly the explosion came. Archduke 
Francis Ferdinand, the heir to the throne, dis- 
covered that a hundred thousand recruits fit 
for service had got away in a single year. An 
inquiry was held into the matter. A ramifica- 
tion of frauds, such as could only exist where 
the officials were in sympathy with the popula- 
tion, was discovered. In many cases boys were 
registered as girls with female names. When 
they grew up they left the country or remained 
in some remote village where no one had any 
interest to reveal their presence. Their em- 
ployers did not want to spare them for the army. 
Others whose mothers had not been sufficiently 
far-seeing to arrange matters early in life 


emigrated, with documents borrowed from a 
friend for the occasion. The documents were 
then sent back by messenger over the frontier 
to the rightful owner. When either of these 
methods was impracticable, medical certificates 
testifying unfitness were procured. Certificates 
of this kind were cheap. The demand was so 
great that there was a keen competition, and 
military doctors were not able to stand out for 
large bribes, especially in out-of-the-way places. 
The feeling of the whole country was with the 
man who refused to fight for the German and 
Magyar overlords. 

A number of emigration agents were hastily 
clapped into prison, travelling offices were 
closed, and a minute investigation was 

Archduke Francis Ferdinand, who undertook 
the task himself, soon discovered that Austria- 
Hungary had been drained of its best fighting 
material by Germany. Cheap passages had 
been offered to emigrants by the Hamburg and 
Bremen lines. They were no doubt anxious to 
make substantial profits. He went into the 
figures and was startled to find that the heavy 
Government subsidies enabled them to carry., 
emigrants at a loss. He immediately detected 
the hand of Kaiser Wilhelm behind this. Ger- 


many had robbed her Poles of their land in 
order to colonise German Poland with Teutons. 
The Kaiser was now trying to drain Austria- 
Hungary of its Slav population and to replace 
them by German emigrants. That was the 
meaning of the great emigrant traffic and of the 
secrecy with which it had been carried on. 

Francis Ferdinand was furious when he dis- 
covered the truth. Men of military age were 
not allowed to cross the frontier without explain- 
ing where they were going. 

The emigrants, however, got away in 
hundreds every week, in spite of all restric- 
tions. The trouble that had been made about 
recruits leaving the country convinced people 
on the frontiers and at the sea coast that a great 
war was coming. The Slavs and the Italians, 
who were determined not to be involved, took 
train to the nearest frontier station and simply 
walked across without passports. It was soon 
discovered that as the German emigration 
figures fell, the numbers of young men of mili- 
tary age leaving Russia and Italy for the States 
increased. Emigration had not been stopped ; 
it had only been diverted to other channels. 
This discovery enraged the Austrian Govern- 

Sentinels were posted on the frontiers to 


watch for young men, but as the sentinels be- 
longed to the disaffected races the men got past 
all the same. 

The restriction upon emigration pressed 
particularly hardly upon the Bosnian Slavs. 
The seething discontent that had increased 
every year since the annexation would never 
have become dangerous had the restless spirits 
been allowed to leave for the States. Families 
would have felt that their sons were safe from 
the bad treatment in the army and would have 
waited patiently until they had enough money 
to join them in the States. The sudden check- 
ing of all these hopes, the shutting of the only 
door of escape, brought the discontent to a 
head. There were rumours of disaffection 
among the subject-races everywhere. Sure of a 
warm welcome from their fellow-countrymen 
on the other side should trouble force them to 
leave, the people along the frontiers became 
very restless. There was every indication that 
the Austro - Hungarian conglomeration of 
nationalities and States could not be kept 
together much longer. Archduke Francis 
Ferdinand was pleased at these indications. 
He, in common with the remainder of the mili- 
tary party, was looking for an excuse for a war. 
Thus he and the army put more pressure upon 



the Serbs in Hungary instead of relieving them 
from some of the grosser forms of oppression. 
Kaiser Wilhelm encouraged the Archduke in 
this policy. He wished Austria-Hungary to 
realise that it had reached a crisis in its history 
that could only be solved by a war. 



The Agrarians, or great landowners, both in 
Austria and Hungary were largely responsible 
for the Great War. If commercial relations 
between Austria and the Balkans had been 
satisfactory there would have been no discon- 
tent. The Balkans are agricultural lands ; large 
crops of corn, vegetable products, and meat 
were produced. Hungary is also a rich agricul- 
tural country, and supplies its own needs en- 
tirely, with a surplus for Austria. Austria and 
Germany cannot exist on the produce of their 
land. Both countries have densely populated 
manufacturing districts that must be supplied 
with food. Hungary wished to obtain the best 
prices for her commodities. She therefore 
objected to Balkan products being imported. 
The goods had to enter over her railways. She 

''' L 2 


prevented their coming in by imposing vexatious 
restrictions and refusing cargoes on all kinds of 
grounds. Austria would not forbid the import 
of meat and other products directly. This 
would have prejudiced her political relations 
with the Balkans. Nor did she wish to 
discourage the Balkan peoples from breeding 
cattle. The shortage of meat in Austria might 
force the Government to import it at any time. 
So she took a most unworthy course. She 
allowed the Agrarians to carry on their nefari- 
ous methods and thus earned the bitter hatred 
of the Balkan peoples, especially of Servia and 
Montenegro. For some years cattle-breeders 
in the Balkan countries did not realise why 
their products were returned so frequently. 
Finally, discovering that they were simply the 
playthings of the Agrarians, they ceased to 
breed cattle and turned their vast pastures into 
corn land. The Agrarians, men who travelled 
but little and had no grasp of the speed with 
which innovations are introduced and new plans 
adopted in this century, were sadly surprised 
and not a little dismayed when they discovered 
that the Serbs and other Balkan countries had 
no more meat for sale. Every summer there 
was a considerable shortage of meat in Austria 
and the cities of Hungary. This was due to a 


number of causes insignificant in themselves, 
but far-reaching as regards the history of 
Europe. The butchers said the regular annual 
shortage was largely owing to supplies being 
sent to Germany, to Bohemia, and the Tyrol 
in the tourist season, when large quantities of 
meat were required for the foreigners who came 
into the country. The real reason was that 
the country was being drained of its best 
blood by emigration. Farmers were forced 
to kill off their cattle because there were 
no shepherds to care for it. The day 
of the small peasant-proprietor was over. 
He had left for the States. It was found 
more profitable to grow corn than to keep cattle 
for the market on the immense farms on the 
great Hungarian plains. No one had realised 
that the Balkan States had rendered themselves 
independent of Austria-Hungary, and that no 
supply would be forthcoming even when the 
frontiers were thrown open. The Agrarians, 
when they heard of the shortage, suggested that 
the people should do without meat. Riots 
ensued, and violent scenes occurred in Vienna. 
The military was brought out to disperse the 
crowd. Hungarian hussars were brought from 
Budapesth to shoot on a crowd chiefly made up 
of Germans and Slavs. As the soldiers 


rode forward to charge the people in front 
of the Vienna Rathhaus, women climbed into 
their saddles, and, rendered desperate by 
fear for their husbands and children, wound 
themselves round the waists of the hussars, thus 
effectually preventing them from using their 
swords. Some men had four women hang- 
ing from their waists as they charged upon the 
crowd. The horses, trained for show and 
parade, were very careful not to dislodge the 
extra riders and advanced at an amble. The 
Hungarian officers who led the men tried to 
incite them to show a different spirit, but al- 
though they charged the crowd not more than a 
hundred civilians were seriously injured. The 
men cut the air above their heads with their 
long sabres, and although they were Hun- 
garians and Magyars, and were faced by a 
crowd they disliked and despised, humanitarian 
feelings were stronger than the commands of 
their officers. Many people in Vienna that day 
doubted whether conscripts would ever fight 
against the populace. Before night, however, 
the spirit of the troops changed. The people, 
desperate with hunger, put up barricades in 
some of the chief streets; they tore down the 
gas lamps and set fire to the stream of coal-gas 
thus released. They plundered the shops of 


unpopular tradesmen and distributed eatables 
among the crowd. When the troops appeared 
they were received by a shower of stones, while 
even the pavements were torn up to provide 
missiles. The soldiers, thoroughly enraged, 
turned a murderous fire upon the people. The 
city was put under martial law, and everyone 
who ventured through the streets was searched 
for weapons. Walking the streets was a dan- 
gerous pastime for strangers, as sentries only 
challenged once and shot if the command to 
halt were not complied with. Similar riots on 
a larger scale took place in Budapesth. They 
were suppressed in a more brutal manner than 
those in Vienna, while in Prague the situation 
became so alarming that a revolution was 
feared. It was then that the Agrarian party 
became alarmed, and agreed to a suggestion 
for the importation of frozen meat from Argen- 
tina. A committee of officials and experts was 
sent to Argentina to arrange for the sending of 
frozen meat to Trieste. The Argentine Govern- 
ment was ready to comply with all the very 
intricate demands and requirements of the Aus- 
trian Government, and, being unversed in the 
history of the Balkans, believed that Austria 
was capable of a perfectly straightforward deal. 
One party of the Government, seeing the 


gravity of the disturbances, really wished to 
alleviate the sufferings of the people by the 
importation of frozen meat. The Agrarians, 
on whose head the blood-guilt of the 
European war really rests, played the 
same unstatesmanlike trick upon Argentina 
as they had successfully carried out in 
the case of the Balkans. The first load of 
meat duly arrived. It was sold immediately. 
This did not suit the short-sighted Agrarians, 
who immediately began a plan for the defeat 
of the innovation. With the consent of the 
Government they began an agitation against 
frozen meat. Butchers circulated stories that it 
was unsound, and as it was sold at prices that 
corresponded very nearly with those of fresh 
meat, it naturally remained on their hands. 
This was seized upon as an excuse by the 
Government to stop the import of any more 
meat. Even then the Government could not 
act with common straightforwardness. The 
cargo was allowed to come, and turned back at 
Trieste. The boat ran over to an Italian port, 
where the meat was sold without difficulty. But 
Austrian credit had suffered largely. The 
political relations with Argentina were strained, 
and the country lost many a good customer 
through her dishonesty. This mattered little 


to the Agrarians, who got good prices for their 

Another attempt was made to introduce sea- 
fish for popular consumption. The Govern- 
ment put a quick goods train service on from 
the Adriatic, and with cars especially con- 
structed for keeping fresh fish in ice through 
the hot nights. This did not suit the Agrarians, 
who had immense breeding-places for carp and 
who reared trout in their streams. As was to be 
expected, the trains were delayed, and the fish 
reached Vienna and Budapesth in a state unfit 
for food. No statesman in Austria-Hungary 
raised his voice against this trickery. No one 
cared whether the people starved or not, pro- 
vided the Agrarians were satisfied. Archdukes, 
who might have raised their voices and have 
made them heard, were themselves engaged in 
trade. They had immense dairies and other 
establishments, where the produce of their 
lands was sold. Their interests were contrary 
to those of the people and to those of the 
country at large. They sided with the 
Agrarians in what was a crisis in their own 
history and that of their country. Meat riots 
were succeeded by disturbances about house 
accommodation. In order to keep up rents, 
regulations preventing the building of new 


blocks of flats were made in both Vienna and 
Budapesth. Similar enactments existed in 
many other large cities in Austria-Hungary, 
but they pressed hardest of all in the capitals. 
The landlords, freed from healthy competition, 
not only demanded high rents, but they refused 
to accept tenants with children. Men well able 
to pay high rents were forced to go from house 
to house begging the porter to show them flats, 
and were turned away time and time again 
simply because they had the misfortune to have 
a family consisting not of six healthy children, 
but of one quiet child of ten. At one period 
things were so bad that a workman with six 
children, who had been unable to get accom- 
modation anywhere, camped out with his family 
on the Graben, the chief promenade in the very 
centre of the city. Others knocked up wooden 
shanties on Crown land near the mountains. At 
last the city decided to put up a number of sheds 
for the accommodation of persons who had been 
expelled from the flats because they had chil- 
dren. In Budapesth things were much worse. 
There were riots, and the effigies of unpopular 
landlords were burned. Troops were called out 
and rioters shot, but this brutal suppression of 
the working class only increased the irritation 
felt against the Government. It was clear even 


to the uninitiated that affairs were reaching a 
climax. The discontent that had begun in the 
working classes was quickly spreading to the 
small employe and even to the professional 
classes and officers in the army. This was due 
not only to lack of food or accommodation, but 
to the enormous increase in the cost of living, 
which had its root in the alarming rise in taxa- 
tion. This taxation was due to the two 
mobilisations during the Annexation crisis and 
the Balkan wars, which had cost Austria-Hun- 
gary many millions. The discovery that many 
things essential to an army were lacking had 
led to reckless expenditure. Not only had 
money been spent on legitimate needs, but im- 
mense swindles had been perpetrated in con- 
nection with army supplies. Highly-placed 
personages had been connected with these inci- 
dents which consequently were never properly 
sifted, those most deeply implicated having the 
power to prevent investigation. Further, mis- 
takes on a vast scale were made. The type of 
cannon recommended for the army, and sup- 
plied to all the regiments, proved to be quite 
useless when employed in frontier skirmishes. 
It was replaced by new weapons at enormous 
cost. Other occurrences of the same kind led 
to the Budget being far above the yearly income 


of the State. It became apparent to all 
responsible for the conduct of the State 
that something must happen. The strain 
was too great — a breakdown somewhere was 



Count Berchtold, the Austro-Hungarian ^ 
Minister who was responsible for the policy that "^ 
led to the Great War, is the prototype of the 
Austro-Hungarian aristocrat, and essentially a 
gentleman. He was for this reason totally un- 
fit to cope with the crowd of unscrupulous pro- 
German politicians around him. He was 
brought up in the old school, and no one who 
knows him personally would hesitate to describe 
him as a gentleman far excellence. The fine, 
delicate features, the slim, slender hands, and 
a bearing that has something almost apologetic, 
are characteristic of the man. He is the ideal 
landowner and feudal lord, able to manage 
large estates, a merciful landlord who would 
remit rent in bad years, a kindly neighbour, and 
valued friend. 



Count Berchtold's greatest interest was horse- 
racing, and his large fortune enabled him to 
keep a splendid stud. He invariably attended 
all the big race-meetings, but he was there 
merely to watch the horses, not to meet the 
representatives of the diplomatic and political 
world like his fellow-officials. His eye never 
wandered from the course during the whole 
meeting. Other politicians never so much as 
glanced at the horses; they were concentrating 
their attention on more important matters. A 
secretary posted them in the events to enable 
them to discuss them when necessary, to keep 
up the farce that they were there to watch the 
horses. They watched their opportunity to slip 
up to some great man and discuss some point 
at issue between them in a friendly and casual 
way. The Foreign Minister knew nothing of 
such manoeuvres. If he wished to discuss a 
delicate matter with the Ambassador of some 
unfriendly Power, he sought him in his Em- 
bassy and at once raised the question to an affair 
of State instead of ascertaining in a non-com- 
mittal way how matters stood before formu- 
lating a demand. Count Berchtold was essen- 
tially an honest and straightforward man when 
he took over the onerous duties of Foreign 
Minister, and had no slur upon his character. 


He was very loth to assume the responsibilities 
of office, and only accepted at the Emperor's 
direct request. He felt that he was not fit to 
take the helm of State at such a critical moment. 
There is not the slightest doubt that the Count 
was correct in the estimate of his own powers. 
It would have required a much less simple- 
minded man to guide the country through the 
troubled waters which seethed all around. The 
Hungarian aristocrat, perhaps more than the 
Austrian noble, lives a somewhat secluded life 
far from railroad and market town. He is 
brought up in the same way as the old feudal 
barons in the Middle Ages. He is surrounded 
by a swarm of servants, whom he regards more 
in the light of serfs than free men. He fills 
the obligations as well as enjoys the privileges 
of a feudal overlord. The young aristocrat 
enjoys life. It is made up of hunting, often in 
the primaeval forest; he is constantly invited 
to shooting-parties, and spends his time in that 
and other manly and outdoor occupations. He 
is always an expert climber, can stalk a chamois, 
and would never fear for his footing on the 
most precipitous rocks. He can fence, box, and 
is, of course, an expert swordsman. He never 
knows when he may be called upon to fight a 
duel, with any weapons. He learns to speak 


four or five languages from native tutors. He 
must be proficient in German, French, and, if 
possible, English and Italian, before he leaves 
the schoolroom. He acquires these languages 
without trouble, often from his nurses, and 
learns to ride while still little more than a baby. 
All these accomplishments fit him to cut a figure 
in the fashionable world, but form a poor equip- 
ment for battling with foreign diplomatists, who 
have had the advantage of a training in a much 
severer school. Even if the education, which he 
receives at the hands of a tutor, chosen rather 
for his sporting proclivities than for his erudi- 
tion, is completed by a university course, no 
professor in Austria-Hungary would venture to 
deal with a young aristocrat in the same fashion 
as with a student belonging to the middle 
classes. Thus, although the aristocrat is pecu- 
liarly suited to occupy important positions on 
account of his birth and manners, he is fre- 
quently unfit to deal with very intricate 
problems or to match his wits against those of 
other politicians. Count Berchtold was a great 
favourite in Vienna because of his hospitality. 
The Hungarians are known far and wide for 
their hearty hospitality, and he even excelled 
the traditions of his race. He gave entertain- 
ments at the Ballplatz, the Austro-Hungarian 


Foreign Ministry, close to the Hofburg, that 
were unique of their kind. He had a kindly 
word for everyone who entered the vast salles 
that opened one into the other at the top of the 
great marble staircase. Beneath the historic 
portraits he entertained Archduchess and 
peasant deputy with unvarying affability. 
When he was seen in other social centres it 
was always conceded that he was the most dis- 
tinguished-looking man in the room. The tall, 
dark figure flitted restlessly to and fro, always 
anxious to contribute his part to making the 
entertainment a success. But close observers 
noted something in the formation of the skull 
and the glance of the eye that denoted lack of 
firmness. He was a man who could be per- 
suaded against his better judgment. Had he 
been called upon, like most of his predecessors 
in ofhce, to be a mere figurehead, all would have 
been well, but under the actual circumstances it 
was fatal to the peace of Europe. It is more 
than probable that Berchtold was chosen to fill 
the important post at the suggestion of Count 
Tchirsky, or some other emissary of Kaiser 
Wilhelm, who desired to have a weak man in 
power in Vienna. 

Once he had taken oihce. Count Berchtold 
discovered that all quiet was at an end. There 



were constant attacks upon him in the German 
subsidised Press of Vienna. During the long 
diplomatic struggles that took place while he 
held office he was accused of hesitation and of 
vacillation. He was, however, merely trying 
to steer a middle course between the two 
policies dictated by the two parties within the 
Empire. The Emperor was firm in his desire 
to die in peace. His reign had begun with the 
loss of territory following upon defeat on the 
battlefield. It was well known that he abso- 
lutely refused to contemplate any policy that 
might lead the Empire into further hostilities. 
It was the Emperor who sent the autograph 
letter to the Czar in the Annexation year, 
begging him to allow him to go down to the 
grave in peace, and to desist from a war which 
seemed inevitable. On the other hand, Archduke 
Francis Ferdinand was anxious for a war. He 
was at the head of the military party, composed 
of the younger aristocrats, who were more or 
less tools in the hands of Kaiser Wilhelm. 
They comprehended nothing of what war meant 
at this period in the world's history. They sus- 
pected nothing of the plans of Kaiser Wilhelm, 
who pushed the Emperor of Austria into the 
foreground when he wished the scales to be 
turned in favour of peace, and skilfully brought 


forward the military party when he wished 
Austria-Hungary to threaten war. Count 
Berchtold was very sensitive to public opinion ; 
the attacks made upon him by the Press, hint- 
ing that he was lacking in courage, annoyed 
him. They also prepared public opinion for 
war. Austria-Hungary was depicted as the 
sufferer from a hundred slights — as the down- 
trodden country that was forced to bear all 
kinds of insults. Insults from Servia, insults 
from Montenegro, had been accepted lying 
down. All news of what the small Balkan 
States had to endure before they made the pro- 
tests was, of course, suppressed. Their point 
of view was never considered. Caricatures of 
Count Berchtold, showing him on his way to 
Salonica but frightened to go on by the claws of 
the Russian bear, were published in the comic 
papers. The lengths to which these papers 
went in turning the Foreign Minister to ridicule 
— a deadly crime in Austria-Hungary — was 
indicative of the strength of the Imperial Ger- 
mans in Austria. They were even able to pro- 
tect their minions against the Austrian censor. 
When any politician showed indications of 
strong-mindedness and of a disposition to resist 
German influence, the terrors of the German 
subsidised Press were turned upon him. He 

M 2 


invariably had to go. The Press in Count 
Berchtold's case, however, was merely used to 
bring him to a sense of his own impotence and 
to deceive him as to the state of public opinion. 
The Germans did not desire his dismissal, 
although they frequently had rumours of his 
impending resignation published. His being 
in office suited their purpose much too well for 
them to wish to see him leave his place. Count 
Tchirsky and other pro-Prussians filled the 
air with rumours of the Emperor's inability to 
rule. They said that the old man was in his 
dotage. This sounded reasonable, although 
it was by no means the case. Count Berchtold 
was naturally inclined to believe these reports, 
as, although he was very loyal to his sovereign, 
he, like many other men of the modern school, 
could not comprehend the monarch's peculiar 
idiosyncrasies, and was apt to mistake his 
religious fervour for an expression of feeble- 
mindedness. This rendered Berchtold ready 
to believe the insinuations that were cunningly 
suggested to him that the Emperor could not 
be trusted with secrets of State. He might tell 
all to his father-confessor, who would report it 
to Rome, where the hated Italians might learn 
it, said the German diplomatists. Berchtold 
thus entered on a course that led to the undoing 


of his country. He acted without consulting 
the Emperor, and concealed important facts 
from him at times of crisis. His tempters no 
doubt showed him good and sufficient reason 
why he should do this. The course was, how- 
ever, a lapse from honesty — an honesty that had 
been Berchtold's chief virtue. So long as the 
supreme power was vested in one man, that 
man, whatever his age, should have been in pos- 
session of the full facts of the case. The Em- 
peror of Austria alone had to decide whether 
there should be peace or war, and his Foreign 
Minister had no right to deceive him on any 
point. Count Berchtold and the German 
Ambassador had guilty secrets between them. 
It was thus that the Ambassador got his hold 
over the Foreign Minister and used it merci- 
lessly. The country gentleman could not be- 
lieve that the German aristocrats around him 
were liars and were capable of acts unthought- 
of by persons of his simple creed. 

History will pronounce judgment on Berch- 
told. Contemporaries see him as a weak man, 
who lost his country's cause through a complete 
inability to cope with the scoundrels who sur- 
rounded him. He was unable to comprehend 
the peculiar art of lying that German diplomacy 
had brought to a fine art, the sphinx-like pro- 


mises that could be made and interpreted ac- 
cording to need. A man of less honourable 
instincts would have been more capable of deal- 
ing with the situation ; a man of character might 
have saved his country. 

Count Tisza, the Hungarian Premier, was a 
man of iron will. He was frequently called 
the Hungarian " Cromwell," "the man with the 
mailed fist." He had fought more duels than 
any other Hungarian aristocrat, and his courage 
was well proven. Not only had he physical 
courage, but moral courage as well. Like 
Count Berchtold, he had received the educa- 
tion and training of a Hungarian aristocrat. 
He is an autocrat of the old school, whose strong 
will has never been broken by opposition. 
Possessed of great strength of character, but 
educated in an atmosphere of unreality, he had 
no grasp of what was really happening in Europe. 
Tisza always prided himself on his loyalty to 
the Emperor. When the sovereign told him to 
reduce the rebellious Hungarian Parliament to 
order, he did not hesitate to order the soldiers 
to drag out offending members. On another 
occasion he had armed men placed at the 
entrance to the House to prevent the entrance 
of all refractory members. The Emperor and 
Tis'^za both looked upon the Parliament as a 


necessary evil that must be dealt with in the 
best way circumstances allowed. Neither of 
them considered that the people had any 
rights. They were not of the same flesh and 
blood as Emperors and Counts. 

This autocratic idea, born of circumstances 
and surroundings, led both men to act in a 
most tyrannous way towards the people. Tisza 
especially had a profound contempt for the 
mob. He looked upon the subject-peoples as 
beneath contempt. Neither he nor his Imperial 
master could brook Notes send by the Serbs. It 
seemed to them the acme of impertinence that 
a nation of so little importance should dare to 
address the Emperor of Austria as an equal. 

Count Tisza has always been most anxious 
to make Hungary equal to Austria. He con- 
sidered that the two nations should enjoy equal 
rights. He resented the fact that the Court 
was established at Vienna, and that Budapesth 
always took a second place. Tisza and every 
Hungarian statesmen knew that the common 
funds were spent for the benefit of Austria 
rather than for that of Hungary. At the same 
time Hungary, who claimed equal rights with 
Austria, always refused to take a half of the 
common expenses on her shoulders; the Hun- 
garian share was always a third, Austria paying 


two-thirds. Hungary is very wealthy, but has 
very little ready money. Her nobles regulate 
taxation and take great care that the burden 
falls on the people in the way of indirect taxa- 
tion of necessities. Before the war there was 
no income tax in Hungary, although the 
revenues enjoyed by the great landowners are 
immense. Kaiser Wilhelm was very exactly 
informed of the relations between Austria and 
Hungary. He took pains to attach Tisza to 
his person. Tisza was invited to Berlin fre- 
quently; he was summoned to confer with the 
Kaiser constantly, while Count Berchtold was 
seldom consulted. The Kaiser dazzled Tisza 
and the Hungarians with promises of assistance 
in their fight against Austria. The Kaiser 
seemed to be the only man who comprehended 
their position. An ambitious and warlike 
people, the Magyar minority could not be 
swamped by the Slavs within the kingdom, or 
overwhelmed by the Germans in Austria. 
Count Tisza, although a very strong man, is 
not capable of comprehending a character like 
that of Kaiser Wilhelm. Single of purpose 
himself, he cannot comprehend duplicity in 
another. Like the Emperor Francis Joseph 
and Count Berchtold, he was duped. He 
desired to go to war with Servia because, like 



Count Berchtold, his personal vanity had been 
hurt. He could not take an international view 
of the situation. The great Slav peril within 
the Empire seemed more important to him than 
the fear of All-German domination. 

Count Tisza might have done much to save 
his country from ruin; instead, he preferred to 
see the subject-races oppressed. He considered 
that a war that would enable the Government 
to thin out the Slavs, by letting them fight one 
against the other, the soldiers from within the 
Empire against those without, would secure the 
supremacy of the Magyars. He failed to com- 
prehend that the Magyars were to be thinned 
out in their turn to make way for Germans who 
wished to exploit the rich treasures of Hungary 
and exhaust her mineral wealth. 

Count Tisza was a gambler accustomed to 
play with gentlemen ; when he played at states- 
manship with the German Emperor he did not 
count upon his adversary using loaded dice. 

The very uprightness of his character pre- 
vented his suspecting others. The man in the 
street suspected Kaiser Wilhelm; the Premier 
did not. 

The Hungarian aristocrat had never been 
"up against life"; he had no instinct to guide 
him. He fondly believed that he was twisting 


the Kaiser round his finger and using him for 
his own ends. These ends were the glorifica- 
tion of Hungary, for Tisza is a patriot to his 
finger-tips. Unfortunately, he was deeply 
imbued with the sentiment that a king cannot 
commit meannesses. He placed the Kaiser on 
the same level as a Hungarian noble. 



In 1907 Austria-Hungary, where conscription 
is in force, had an army of about three million 
men when fully mobilised. These men were 
of excellent physique, since they were selected 
as the most promising material among a number 
of men fit for service. Every year when the 
annual contingent of recruits came up for ser- 
vice, a larger number were passed as " fit " than 
could be put into training. About a third of the 
" fit " were sent home ; they were selected by lot, 
and although they were not called upon to serve 
immediately, they were under the obligation to 
do so when required. Thus there was a large 
second line of untrained men fit for service and 
ready to be called up when necessary. The high 
standard of efficiency resulted in only the very 
best material being selected; there were many 



among the rejected who could be called to the 
colours in time of necessity. 

Besides this, the military authorities pursued 
a definite policy. They were willing to grant 
exemption to the city man who could be use- 
fully employed in clerical work in war time, and 
devoted their energies to training the peasant 
for actual fighting. 

All this resulted in the official figures of the 
available men giving no real estimate of the 
numbers that w^ere actually available. 

Much money and attention were devoted to 
the minor branches of the service. Armament 
factories were increased and flying fields estab- 
lished in connection with all the army corps 
headquarters. The preparations for a possible 
war, while being carried on with great energy 
and at great expense, were somewhat delayed 
by an incurable habit, peculiar to the Austrians, 
of giving great attention to branches of the ser- 
vice that were anything but essential. Experi- 
ments were made in ski-running on the Alps in 
winter. Small companies of men were frequently 
lost in the Tyrol while trying to cross difficult 
ground. It was felt in the country generally 
that the attempts to get over the glaciers and 
snowfields might just as well have been made in 
summer, when there was not the same danger 


from avalanches, and even if war with Italy 
were inevitable, ski-running practised within 
view of the Italian frontier was not likely to 
calm Italian susceptibilities. Aviation, which 
had long been recognised as the war weapon of 
the future, was quite neglected. The Govern- 
ment refused to purchase the necessary airships. 
The Austrians, with all their mechanical genius, 
were not able to make the motors for aeroplanes. 
Austrian inventors had to obtain motors from 
France before their airships could fly. The 
conservatism of thought and methods which 
made the Austro-Hungarian Government 
neglect the air service, led them to misread the 
signs of the times, and to allow the fleet to sink 
to a mere nothing. Although they were building 
up the fortifications along the Austro-Hun- 
garian frontier, a queer optimism made them 
count upon Italy's help in the Mediterranean. 
Meanwhile they worked up their land fortifica- 
tions. The Austro-Hungarian naval ports are 
models of what Nature can do in the way of 
natural defences. Cattaro is practically impreg- 
nable from the sea side. The gulf winds in and 
out, and the approach to the city can be de- 
fended at every turn. The military and naval 
authorities felt quite secure of Cattaro, and it 
was only in the Annexation year, when there was 


trouble with Montenegro, that it was discovered 
that the cannon on the summit of Mount 
Lovcen could be fired right into Cattaro. The 
boundary line between Austria-Hungary and 
Montenegro runs close to the summit of the 
mountain. The Austrians considered that it 
would be very easy to capture the top of the 
precipitous mountain should war break out be- 
tween the small country and themselves, but it 
was a very serious offset to the value of Cattaro. 
There was a large choice of suitable naval 
ports along the coast besides Cattaro. The only 
consideration that made a selection difficult was 
the question of railway communications with the 

Sebenico was also built out as a naval base, 
but, like Cattaro, there was no railway to connect 
it with the interior, as the narrow gauge Bosnian 
railways were of little practical use for military 
purposes. They were either light mountain 
railways or narrow gauge. This meant 
that all transports must be unloaded at the 
Hungarian frontier. Neither Cattaro nor 
Sebenico could thus be utilised as first-class 
naval bases until the Bosno-Herzegowinan rail- 
way system had been changed. Plans for this 
project were made and the money was voted, but 
the work had not been begun at the outbreak 


of the Great War. The naval authorities estab- 
lished excellent wireless stations and repairing 
shops at these ports. The Government was dis- 
inclined to spend money on these ports, because 
the population was either Italian or Serb, and 
not easy to cow into subjection, like inland 
peoples. A seafaring people were always able 
to make good their escape should danger 
threaten. If the sea coast were watched too 
carefully for them to get away by boat, there 
was a wild mountainous district behind, where 
a man could hide among the rocky crags undis- 
turbed until the hue and cry after him had died 
down. Just as the Bohemians near the German 
frontier were always inclined to be restive, and 
the Government more or less obliged to take a 
lenient view of their offences, so the Dalmatians 
were seldom subjected to persecution. Austria- 
Hungary never let off her wrath on those able 
to defend themselves. 

Political considerations hampered the Austro- 
Hungarian Government in her choice of ports 
and in her shipbuilding. Austria wished to get 
all the shipbuilding orders, and was willing to 
make concessions to Hungary in agricultural 
affairs in order to secure them. Hungary, how- 
ever, was not disposed to accept these. 

Austria-Hungary only settled upon a definite 


naval policy after the Annexation crisis. It was 
decided then that the new boats should be built 
in Trieste, and then tugged round to Pola for 
fitting. The Hungarians complained bitterly, 
and insisted upon some orders being placed at 
Fiume also. Slips for Dreadnoughts were 
prepared in Hungarian dockyards. The first 
Dreadnoughts, however, were built at the 
Stablimento Tecnico, in Trieste. This caused 
a storm of indignation all along the Adriatic. 
Austria had fostered Trieste at the expense of 
all other ports — both Hungarian and Italian — 
on the sea coast. Two railways carried goods 
from Trieste to Vienna. Preference tariffs were 
given to goods shipped over the Austrian ports. 
Italian firms found it cheaper to get their goods 
via Trieste than via Venice. Every form of ruse 
and trickery for magnifying the importance of 
Trieste and decreasing that of Venice w^as used. 
In some cases, Austrian firms received large 
State subventions to enable them to undersell 
Italian firms. Thus Trieste absorbed much of 
the trade that formerly went via Genoa to 
Switzerland and Germany. In bolstering up 
Trieste and its trade the Government was not 
actuated by commercial considerations only. 
The mercantile fleet proved an excellent train- 
ing-school for sailors; the population was com- 


posed mostly of Italians and Slavs, seafaring 
people who had been accustomed to earn their 
living on the water for generations and genera- 
tions. Austria-Hungary, when contemplating 
her failures in many parts of the country, could 
always point to Trieste as a complete success. 
Unfortunately, Kaiser Wilhelm also regarded 
the seaport as an entire success. The splendid 
docks, stretching miles inland, where light boats 
could be built, the yards at Montfalcone, all 
stirred a feeling of covetousness in the monarch, 
who was never satisfied. He actually com- 
menced negotiations to get possession of 
Trieste. He needed a port in the Mediterranean 
or in the Adriatic for the re-fitting, re-fuelling, 
and provisioning of German ships in times of 
peace. Austria-Hungary refused on one occa- 
sion to cede her best port to Kaiser Wilhelm, 
but an agreement that Germany could use it as 
a coaling-station was entered into. 

The first Dreadnoughts built for the Austro- 
Hungarian Navy just after the Annexation 
crisis were laid down secretly. Although per- 
mission to build Dreadnoughts had been given 
at the Delegations, many Members of Parlia- 
ment opposed the granting of the money, on the 
ground that Austria-Hungary could not afford 
to embark on a policy that might embroil her 



with other nations. Her army was sufficiently 
large to protect her and assure her that respect 
among the Great Powers that she had a right 
to demand. The Government, to save argument, 
thus laid down the Dreadnoughts without an- 
nouncing the fact. When the news that the first 
ship was partially ready and the second had 
already been laid down was made public, the 
other nations of Europe naturally felt that 
Austria-Hungary had stolen a march upon 
them. She specialised in building submarines 
and torpedoes at this time. The necessary 
expense was provided for by a special species 
of book-keeping. Money voted for education 
and similar purposes was devoted to the con- 
struction of submarines, and the public and 
Europe were kept in ignorance of the true uses 
to which it was put. 

Archduke Francis Ferdinand, the late heir to 
the throne of Austria-Hungary, was especially 
interested in shipbuilding. He had a valid excuse 
for remaining far from the capital. The fine 
dust from the limestone with which Vienna is 
built injured his lungs, which were already deli- 
cate. He therefore stayed for the greater part 
of the year at Miramare, a beautiful castle close 
to Trieste, or at Brioni, farther along the coast. 
The Duchess and the children enjoyed the stay 


near the sea. He ran to and fro in a swift yacht, 
visited Pola and Fiume, and assisted at the 
experiments which were being carried on there. 
Kaiser Wilhelm frequently came to visit Corfu, 
and stayed at Miramare en route. The two men 
who were plotting for world-empire spent many 
hours together. The Kaiser was frequently 
accompanied by experts, who travelled incog- 
nito at the command of the Emperor. 

Archduke Francis Ferdinand, brought up, like 
all the Austro-Hungarian Imperial family, in an 
atmosphere of unreality, suspected nothing of 
the Kaiser's ulterior motives in coming to 
Trieste. He even followed his suggestions for 
the gradual removal of all Italians employed in 
Government service. 

N 2 



Archduke Carl Francis Joseph resembles 
the present Emperor of Austria and King of 
Hungary very closely, though the resemblance 
is apparent rather in a certain peculiar charm 
of manner than in a similarity of features. 
Their colouring is identical, and when on the 
outbreak of war the aged Emperor made a 
triumphal entry into Vienna amid enthusiastic 
crowds such as the capital had never seen, with 
the heir to the throne by his side in an open 
carriage, everyone remarked on a resemblance 
that had escaped them before. " He might be 
the Emperor's grandson," was heard on every 
side, as the two men who held the destinies of 
the land in their hands went by. They sat 
stiffly upright, for both have the carriage that 
marks a thorough military training; both 
acknowledged the frenzied acclamations of the 


crowd with a truly royal reserve, in contrast 
with the eagerness of F'erdinand of Bulgaria 
or Wilhelm of Prussia, who could not conceal 
their extreme delight at the shouts of the popu- 
lace. Both Emperor and Archduke have 
always been popular. 

The Archduke had received the careful train- 
ing that is given to one who is expected to fill 
a high place in life. He learned English at 
the same time as he learned German from an 
English governess, who succeeded in implant- 
ing a love for her native land in the heart of 
the young Archduke. The Austrians con- 
sidered that he was too British in his tastes in 
many ways, and much too inclined to go in for 
games of every kind instead of attending to the 
more serious studies that took up so large a 
part of his time already. While the young 
Archduke showed great enthusiasm for tennis, 
for dancing and skating, he cared but little for 
abstruse studies. None of the Habsburgs ever 
gave evidence of great mental powers, and 
the Archduke was true to the family traditions 
in this respect. Educated in Vienna, where 
dancing and music are regarded as the chief 
end of life, it was natural that he should enjoy 
both. It is also a debatable point whether 
accomplishments of this kind are not more 


desirable for the young man who wishes to get 
into touch with his subjects and with foreign 
diplomatists than a taste for discussion. Un- 
fortunately, the Archduke was encouraged to 
pursue a very frivolous life. The wicked uncle 
of the fairy tale is frequently seen in real life. 
In this case he enjoyed unusual powers. When 
Archduke Otto died he left his brother, Arch- 
duke Francis Ferdinand, guardian to his two 
boys. The heir to the throne and his ambitious 
morganatic wife thus had the care of educating 
the boy who was to succeed to the throne instead 
of their own boys. It is doubtful whether they 
could have felt kindly towards him in any case. 
Being what they were, both ambitious and un- 
scrupulous, they did everything they could to 
ruin the boy. He was surrounded by persons 
who turned his thoughts towards subjects unfit 
for him, and who led him astray at an age when 
he should have been attending to his school- 
books. The sudden change from a life of con- 
vent-like severity to one of the greatest dissipa- 
tion and licence was sufficient to turn the head 
of any young man, and much more so that of 
the heir-presumptive to a brilliant throne. 
When he appeared in a ballroom the women 
flattered him, not for position perhaps so much 
as for his youthful grace and manners. The 


Archduke and his wife threw in the way of the 
Archduke people of vicious life, who did their 
best to ruin him in every way. The frivolity 
of his disposition, mingled with a certain light- 
heartedness that led him to take nothing 
seriously, saved him from these snares. The 
Archduke had him removed from the Vienna 
Court, where he was far too popular, on the 
pretext that he was "going the pace" too fast. 
The Emperor made inquiries, and discovered 
that the Archduke was leading a comparatively 
simple life compared with that of many of his 
elders. He was banished to his regiment gar- 
risoned on the Elbe; however, he got frequent 
leave to come to Vienna incognito, when he 
could not interfere with his uncle, who was so 
unpopular that he never ventured to walk about 
the streets like the rest of the Imperial family. 
It is probable that, instead of lessening his 
popularity, these long periods of enforced 
absence endeared the young Archduke to the 
hearts of his future subjects. He, too, knew 
how to speak a number of languages and dia- 
lects. Italian he spoke like his native tongue, 
and he knew French, the diplomatic language 
of the Balkans, thoroughly. He knew Czech 
really well, and also spoke Hungarian, having 
learnt both languages as a child. The heir to 


the throne knew neither, not having learnt them 
when young, as there were several lives between 
him and the throne. All these facts made him 
less inclined to love his nephew, who seemed 
to possess all the graces that he lacked. All 
the machinations against him, although actuated 
by the deepest hate, had no result because of 
his simplicity of character. When he returned 
to Vienna after a long, enforced absence, he 
went at once to the Belvedere and thanked his 
uncle and aunt for the kind care that held him 
far from the capital. He did not say that he 
had all the amusement that he needed. He 
had been present at every premiere of import- 
ance, assisted at many balls that did not figure 
in the columns of the papers devoted to Court 
news, and generally had an amusing time with- 
out being trammelled by the strict etiquette that 
would have regulated his movements had he 
been in the capital on an official visit. Always 
smiling and good-humoured, he never even 
noticed the machinations that were directed 
against him. He was high in favour with the 
Emperor, who often expressed the wish that the 
younger man were coming to the throne instead 
of the next heir, for Archduke Carl had never 
caused him a moment's uneasiness. This was 
saying much at a Court where most of the youth- 





ful members had committed some breach of 
etiquette at least, many of them having caused 
the Emperor much trouble by their love affairs. 
Archduke Carl, instead of a variety of affaires, 
had offered all the warmth of his youthful devo- 
tion on the shrine of one of the most amusing 
and accomplished Vienna actresses. He carried 
flowers and flung them on the stage at her feet 
very often, and showed his preference in many 
ways. As the lady was already a woman far on 
in years, she accepted his boyish devotion with- 
out allowing him to do anything compromising 
for his future. She acted the role of the good 
fairy who saved the prince from all the snares 
spread for his undoing. When the Archduke 
fell in love with an old playmate at a Court 
ball, he made his actress friend his first con- 
fidante. The Archduke, like most of his rela- 
tions, married solely for love, and was able to 
accomplish his desire, although there was much 
opposition in some quarters. Princess Zita, of 
Parma, the daughter of an old and decaying 
race, was a child of the Vienna Court. She had 
been convent-bred, and, like her husband, she 
was educated partly on English lines. She had 
spent some years at the convent at the Isle of 
Wight, where several of her near relatives 
occupy important positions among the Sisters. 


She lives part of the year in Italy, and is 
essentially Italian in type and character. Her 
great charm of manner fitted her to become an 
Empress ; the only objection that could be made 
to the match was that she came of a family of 
worn-out stock already related to the Habs- 
burgs, and not likely to improve that de- 
generate line. This objection would have been 
considered fatal at some Courts. At Vienna 
the fact that Princess Zita was distinguished 
for her piety and was completely in the hands 
of the Church over-rode all other considera- 
tions, and the match was allowed to proceed. 
It has turned out most happily. The Viennese 
were pleased to have a Princess that they knew. 
They made no secret of the fact that it was a 
grave mistake to import princesses. They said 
that such young women did not know enough 
to hold their own against the intrigues of the 
family, who were invariably jealous of the 
" first lady at the Court." The women did their 
best to poison the young lives of imported 
princesses with tales of scandal and by other 
less reputable means. Princess Zita had a 
crowd of powerful relations to stand by her 
and protect her from the harm that befell the 
late Empress Elizabeth. She was well 
acquainted with the atmosphere of the Court, 


and, like a child at home, knew how to avoid 
all the pitfalls spread for her undoing. 
Princess Zita accompanied her husband every- 
where when it was possible. Before the war she 
travelled over the whole of the Galician fron- 
tier in his company. With deep understanding 
of the character of the peasants, she purchased 
their livestock at the exorbitant prices they 
demanded for her poultry farm. Unlike 
Duchess Hohenberg, who complained that she 
was overcharged when the peasants asked too 
much, she threw away sums of money, small 
intrinsically, but large in the eyes of the poor 
inhabitants of the land. The progress made 
by the newly-married pair was a great success. 
The birth of a son, while putting a seal upon 
the popularity of both, undid the hopes and 
plans nourished at the Belvedere. Duchess 
Hohenberg despaired of seeing either of her 
fine boys upon the throne. The remainder of 
the Court held a brief for Archduke Carl and 
Princess Zita, and protected them against 
Duchess Hohenberg. Little Zita had grown 
up among them, and no one grudged her the 
high place she .occupied. She did not even 
displace the "first lady of the Court." Arch- 
duchess Annunziata, the niece of the Emperor, 
immediately resigned her place to the younger 


woman who was to be the future Empress, but 
the Httle Princess was too much taken up by 
her duties as mother to learn the whole of the 
strict etiquette that the "first lady" is called 
upon to observe. Her aunt arranged, there- 
fore, to preside at the more formal functions, 
where the Princess, who was nothing but a 
child, might make some dreadful mistake, and 
to instruct her gradually. This simplified 
matters greatly for the Princess, who thus made 
no enemies. Archduchess Annunziata had pre- 
sided at the Court ever since the tragic death 
of Empress Elizabeth. She was tired of the 
burden, and wished to retire to her convent 
at Prague for the remainder of her life. She 
took no pleasure in standing erect and gracious 
on a platform at the top of the ballroom and 
saying the appropriate thing to each of the 
dignitaries presented to her notice. The role 
that would have rejoiced Duchess Hohenberg 
beyond everything annoyed her. 

Archduke Francis Ferdinand and Duchess 
Hohenberg, sitting sullen and gloomy at 
Konopischt, still tried to keep the heir-pre- 
sumptive far from the capital. He and Princess 
Zita were only allowed to show themselves 
publicly in Vienna on rare occasions. This led 
to their being cheered frantically whenever 


they did show themselves. Exaggerated stories 
of the jealousy shown by the Archduke went 
all round the city. The Emperor frequently 
called the younger man to his side, and was 
struck by his modesty and mild demeanour. 
Archduke Carl was naturally most unassuming. 
His personal attendants were much attached to 
him because of his great generosity, but always 
said that he was impulsive to a degree that 
made him difficult to arrange for; he made 
plans absolutely upon the spur of the moment 
without stopping to consider. 

Such was the young Archduke as he was 
known in Vienna when the murder of Sarajevo 
altered the entire course of his life. The 
weight of responsibility suddenly thrown upon 
his shoulders made him show character — 
strength of character that must have been there 
all the time, carefully concealed beneath the 
pleasant manners of a young courtier. This 
was seen at the funeral of the victims of Sara- 
jevo. He insisted upon walking behind the 
funeral coach that bore his uncle and aunt to 
their last rest. The Master of the Ceremonies 
at the Vienna Court had arranged that no 
member of the House of Habsburg should de- 
mean himself by paying this respect to the 
dead, and he represented this to the Archduke 


on the steps of the railway station. The Arch- 
duke became quite red in the face with excite- 
ment as he pointed out to the amazed official 
that he w^as now heir to the throne, and that he 
would decide upon what was the correct thing 
at Court. All Vienna saw and applauded. He 
walked alone behind the coffins as first mourner 
with the air of sadness and solemnity which 
the occasion demanded. At the same time he 
freed himself from the domination of the much- 
dreaded Master of the Ceremonies once and 
for all. 

The Archduke and his wife were naturally 
pro-Italian. Even before his marriage the 
Archduke had always shown more sympathy 
for the Italians than was felt by other Habs- 
burgs. The happiest days of his life had been 
spent on Italian ground at Viareggio, where he 
was able to live on the water far away from the 
Court and its exigencies. He was inclined to 
trust the Italians, and, unlike his uncle, disliked 
the Slavs. He was, too, decidedly pro-British 
before the war. When he was selected to go 
to England to represent the Emperor, he made 
his preparations with the greatest alacrity, 
pleased to think that he had been chosen for 
the mission. 

Kaiser Wilhelm regarded the heir-presump- 


tive to the throne as a young man of no import- 
ance in his schemes. He believed that a youth 
who was so thoroughly under the influence of 
his mother had neither the character nor the 
intelligence to oppose his plans. Kaiser Wil- 
helm, perhaps, neglected that obstinacy which 
is a leading characteristic of the Habsburgs, 
and which has enabled them to resist many an 
attack upon their prerogative in the past, and 
may have an important and unexpected in- 
fluence on the future. While the late heir to 
the throne of Austria-Hungary was entirely in 
the hands of the Jesuits, neither Emperor 
Francis Joseph nor his present heir ever 
allowed them to dictate in affairs of State. 
They held that religion and statecraft were 
different matters that must be kept scrupulously 



Austria and Hungary strike the casual 
visitor as very like any other European country, 
and so long as he remains on the beaten path 
he finds no reason to revise his judgment. 
Vienna, Budapesth, Prague, are very like Milan 
or Berlin. There is plenty of ready money, and 
every indication of a somewhat too advanced 
civilisation. In fact, decadence is suggested 
rather than under-cultivation. The ease with 
which the city people have adopted every new 
invention, and the facility with which they adapt 
themselves to modern appliances and conve- 
niences, quite deceives the stranger. He natur- 
ally supposes that people who made constant 
and excellent use of the telephone at a time 
when it was just being introduced into the 
western countries of Europe are necessarily ad- 
vanced in other matters. Everything looks very 
up to date. The fashionable watering-places, 


like Karlsbad and Marienbad,are the essence of 
modernity. Everything is carefully arranged 
for the comfort of the traveller, and for the 
man who can afford the utmost refinement of 
comfort it is perfection. If he takes a long 
walk out from his splendidly appointed hotel, 
and spends a day or two up country in Bohemia, 
he will soon discover a different state of things. 
The first shock is the knowledge that the 
forest is not safe for anyone who rashly wanders 
away from carefully tended paths and marked 
trees that show the direction. These immense 
woods are not merely unsafe, but any stranger 
to the district who strays among the denser parts 
will probably not return, for the peasants are 
inclined to be savage. If a German falls into 
the hands of Czechs in a small Bohemian town 
he usually gets badly mauled before the police, 
who are really in sympathy with the towns- 
people and do not hurry unduly, can interfere. 
This kind of outrage, which may be found 
chronicled without any excuse or explanation in 
the small local papers, goes on within a few 
miles of the ultra-civilised Marienbad, where 
urbane and polished politicians conferred with 
King Edward, and spoke of their land as one 
of the civilised countries of Europe. No one 
ever thought of pushing inquiries as to what the 



native peasant was like. Horrible crimes are 
frequently reported from Bohemia, but they 
attract little attention. The foreigners do not 
read the kind of paper that delights in horrible 
detail, while the Viennese know too well how 
very backward much of the country population 
is, and naturally wish to keep the knowledge 
from the world. The various races that live 
within the confines of Austria proper are of mild 
and somewhat timid disposition, but the Hun- 
garians are fierce and cruel. 

Many peasants, who own considerable wealth 
in the shape of land, that has come down to 
them from their fathers, have never seen a gold 
coin, nor even possessed a 15s. banknote in their 
lives. Very little gold circulates in Austria or 
Hungary at any time, the people preferring 
notes. Apart from this, however, many 
peasants never handle money. Their whole 
business is carried on by barter. A peculiar 
method of trading is known as " pauschal." It 
is extremely simple in its operation. A dairy- 
farmer undertakes to supply one of his neigh- 
bours with butter, milk and eggs all the year 
round. The neighbour supplies him with pork, 
vegetables, or some other commodity that he 
has at his disposal. The same method of barter 
is applied to the shoemaker and to the weaver of 


linen. If one party suffers a slight disadvantage 
through the arrangement it is considered that it 
will be made up another season, when his re- 
quirements will be larger. This system obviates 
any keeping of accounts, and is of great conve- 
nience, as it enables the parties concerned to 
forecast their expenses for the coming year with 
certainty. In some districts, where there is less 
mutual dependence, and therefore less mutual 
trust and confidence, the accounts are chalked 
up behind the door, and one supply of goods 
rendered against another. But no money passes 
from hand to hand. The peasant has a lively 
distrust of banks, born of experience; and he 
considers that the natural end of a bank is 
failure. He therefore invests his money in 
stock, in enriching the land, if he is the abso- 
lute proprietor, and always locks up a certain 
sum for emergencies, turning it into jewellery, 
which is worn by the women. In times of terror 
the peasant girl conceals her necklace — usually 
made of coins which are out of circulation — and 
always has the wherewithal to procure herself 
temporary shelter. The peasant women, too, 
wear belts of solid silver, which can be con- 
verted into cash at a moment's notice, should 
necessity arise. The peasant never interferes 
with his wife's jewellery, whatever may be his 

O 2 


need; it is her dowry for herself and her 
children in times of dire distress. 

These circumstances and habits account for 
the curious phenomenon of a population rich in 
property, but having no ready money. This 
explains, too, the remarkable fact that only 
about 4 per cent, of the population of Austria 
pay income-tax. The tax is imposed upon 
everyone earning over £50 per annum. Moving 
about among the peasant proprietors, among the 
large population engaged in cottage industries, 
it is impossible to believe that these people are 
living on incomes below ;^5o per annum. It is 
true that they have no money, or only rare coins, 
but they are living at a high standard of com- 
fort, and many who earn ;^20 per annum in 
actual coins, consume products got upon the 
exchange and barter system worth several hun- 
dreds of pounds. 

The small fraction of the population which is 
taxed for income for carrying on a trade or pro- 
fession, and in a dozen other vexatious ways, 
is heavily hampered. A man must even pay 
a heavy tax for the upkeep of his religion if 
he is a non-Catholic. Indeed, it is difficult to 
see how any business can be made to pay with 
the heavy taxation that hampers trade on every 
hand, and practically prevents Austrian traders 


from being able to compete with German firms, 
which instead of being hampered are assisted 
by their Government. 

In the days of quiet and calm before Austria- 
Hungary was led to think of world-empire by 
her ambitious ally, the Minister of Finance 
actually turned out budgets without a deficit; 
some years there was even a surplus. It was, of 
course, impossible to ascertain how far these 
figures corresponded with actual facts, for 
" double book-keeping " was not peculiar to 
private persons in Austria-Hungary. It was a 
matter of common knowledge that Government 
statistics were manipulated to suit the require- 
ments of the political situation. 

When the country embarked upon her new 
military and naval policy, large sums of money 
were needed. There were meetings between 
leading financiers to consider how best it could 
be collected from a country that possessed no 
liquid wealth. Taxes were clapped on imports. 
This brought but little revenue, as the country 
people fed on the products of their own grow- 
ing. The various State monopolies, such as 
tobacco, brought in large revenues. The 
attempt to get money from the agricultural 
population, however, failed. This meant that 
the capitals and large manufacturing districts 


must find the necessary funds for reckless ex- 
penditure on armaments. Great hardships 
resulted. The working-classes were forced to 
pay heavy taxes upon all goods entering the 
city. They already bore heavy import duties, 
and the .cost of many articles of necessity was 
almost prohibitive. Sugar, which was made 
from beetroot in the country, and sold to 
England at less than cost price, in order to gain 
a foreign market, cost 5d. a pound in Austria- 
Hungary. The taxation became heavier every 
year, and the authorities failed to see that the 
burden was falling exclusively upon the 
middle-classes and the working-classes dwelling 
in the large cities. Austria-Hungary tried to 
float loans in France. The political situation 
was so strained that, although France was 
willing to lend money to Russia, she refused, 
point-blank, to lend to Austria or to Hungary on 
any terms. The loans had to be taken up in 
Germany. Germany needed money herself; 
she had been spending all her available capital 
upon raw material for the forging of cannon. At 
every meeting of the Austrian Parliament mem- 
bers protested against the laying down of 
Dreadnoughts when the financial situation of 
the country was so precarious. There were con- 
stant riots in the towns, the Austro-Hungarian 


system -of reckless suppression of disorders 
applied to quell the disorders only increased the 
mass of discontent and disaffection. There came 
a time when politicians began to see that only 
a successful war could save the position. The 
Hungarians were threatening to break loose 
from Austria. They considered that the finances 
were mismanaged. Too much of the money 
voted for the Dual Monarchy, and administered 
by the Common Minister of Finance, was 
devoted to Austrian needs, to the disadvantage 
and detriment of her less powerful neighbour, 
Hungary. Such suspicions were very well 
founded, especially as regards the sums secretly 
devoted to war material. If education were 
defective in Austria, it was still more neglected 
in Hungary. 

Vienna had become the real capital, Buda- 
pesth being neglected through the ill-health and 
advancing age of the Emperor, It was clear 
that the Emperor could not travel to Budapesth 
without risk to his health, since the climate did 
not suit him. 

Hungary said that she would prefer to 
administer her own finances. She could very 
well provide for her own military and naval 
requirements. She wished to take a part of the 
executive power into her own hands. This 


would have weakened Austria considerably. 
Instead of ranking as a first-class Power she 
would fall to the rank of a secondary one. 
Bohemia, too, wished for separation. She felt 
that her prosperous factories, her ironworks, 
were contributing a very large share of wealth to 
the country, and that while the Bohemians were 
heavily taxed, they got no compensation for the 
extra money that they poured into the State 

The leading statesmen realised towards the 
year 19 12 that they were faced by the choice of 
war or revolution in Austria-Hungary. The 
huge sums needed to pay off the debts already 
incurred by the costs connected with two mobili- 
sations, and the ever-increasing military and 
naval needs were landing the country in an 
impasse from which there were only two roads 
of escape. If the House of Habsburg wished 
to maintain its proud position some action must 
be taken. The politicians round the throne 
thought that a successful war with Italy would 
be the most desirable event. They dared not 
moot this question in the presence of the aged 
Emperor. He was firm for peace. This convic- 
tion, that was deeply rooted in his mind, was 
strengthened by his growing parsimoniousness. 
Very generous as a young man, he had grown 


almost miserly as old age crept upon him. 
When he was ill he regretted that there should 
be speculation upon the Stock Exchange, and 
that the " poor people should lose their money," 
to use his own words. This economy, which 
he wished to see exercised, not only in his own 
private affairs, but throughout the State, would 
alone have made him abhor the thought of war, 
which he knew meant expenditure. The military 
party hoped that he might either die, or be 
brought to see that his remaining at the head of 
affairs any longer was a mistake from every 
point of view. They realised that something 
must be done. If the Emperor would only 
abdicate, they could act. 

Prices of ordinary necessities rose 30 per 
cent, during the three years preceding the war. 
The small clerk, the officer, and everyone with a 
limited income and a certain position to keep 
up, was reduced to going without many articles 
of prime necessity, or to getting into debt. Many 
chose this last alternative; especially was this 
the case with the officers, who were thus the more 
anxious for war, as they had nothing to lose and 
much to gain by being on active service. 

If the middle classes in Austria-Hungary had 
possessed large sums invested in stocks and 
shares, like the French or the Swiss, the large 


class representing this interest would have 
objected to war. This was not the case, as all 
speculation and almost all liquid capital was in 
the hands of the Jews. They were firm for 
peace. They completely failed to see where 
the policy of the country was leading. Their 
lack of influence, and the barrier that kept 
them from being able to exchange views and 
opinions freely and as man to man with the aris- 
tocrats, prevented them from seeing what was 
about to happen. They believed that the 
country might go on in its peaceful way, even 
after the death of the Emperor, which was the 
date commonly fixed in the country for the dis- 
ruption of the Empire. Perhaps the Jews and 
the financial section would have been right in 
their estimate had it not been for the ambitions 
of the German Kaiser. They did not appre- 
ciate the mentality of the Austrian Imperial 
family, in whom the power of decision was 
really vested, and could not understand that it 
would prefer to allow itself to become the cats- 
paw of Germany, rather than see its power 
diminished by the loss of part of its lands. 



The Austro-Hungarlan Constitution exists 
on paper, but that is all. The Austrian Parlia- 
ment met at Vienna, the Hungarian Parliament 
still meets at Budapesth, but the National As- 
semblies never exercised any actual power. 
This was partly due to the clever management 
of those in authority, but chiefly to the policy 
of the Emperor, an old autocrat, who con- 
sidered that all means were justifiable if all 
real power could be kept in his hands. Much 
of the blame, however, was due to the people 
themselves, who held aloof from politics. Some 
of the most highly educated men in the country 
said that the Constitution was a farce, and that 
they refused to have anything to do with it. 
Others refused to vote to mark their disap- 
probation. The Government thereupon made 
voting obligatory. Anyone who refused to 
record his vote without due cause was liable to 


fine and imprisonment. Thus the Government 
kept up the farce of a constitutional system. 

Reflecting people of all nationalities within 
the Dual Monarchy realised that the people 
had no power. All decisions in the realm of 
the foreign policy of the country were made by 
the reigning monarch. No Minister was held 
responsible. The power of voting money for 
the army and navy and all objects common to 
Austria and Hungary was not invested in the 
Parliaments, but held by the Delegations. The 
Delegates were elected by the Parliaments, but 
the nominations v/ere made by Government, 
and men noted for their pliability were selected. 
Delegates sometimes protested against expendi- 
ture. An instance of this kind occurred when 
Austria-Hungary embarked upon her big fleet 
policy. Money was asked for to build Dread- 
noughts. The Delegations refused. 

The Government did not give up its project. 
It gave orders to the Stablimento Tecnico in 
Trieste to lay down the first ship "on spec," 
with a very broad hint as to who would purchase 
the vessel when complete. This dishonesty, 
first towards the taxpayers, then towards 
Europe, is a particularly striking sample of the 
policy carried on by the country. 

Members of Parliament in both Austria and 


Hungary received payment for each day's 
attendance. When Parliament was dissolved 
this payment ceased. The members were, for 
the most part, men who required the money to 
live. They had given up their profession to 
come to Vienna to represent their constituencies, 
and the closing of Parliament meant the cutting 
off of their incomes. It was therefore to their 
interest to do nothing to anger the Government. 
The laws of the Constitution provided for the 
election of another Parliament, but in actual 
practice it remained shut until it pleased the 
Emperor to permit another election to take 
place. Persons of importance did not seek 
election to the "Punch and Judy" show or 
madhouse on the Ringstrasse, as the Austrian 
Parliament was usually called. 

A stormy sitting at the Vienna Parliament 
was an interesting sight. A cordon of police 
usually guarded the stately block of buildings 
when a row was going on within. From time to 
time a side door would open and angry atten- 
dants would throw out a dozen men, panting 
from the struggle. They would fall on the soft 
carpet of snow, and then be sent about their 
business by the police beyond. They were the 
public who had been sitting in the gallery and 
who had joined too loudly in the dem.onstra- 


tions going on below. Inside the atmosphere 
was thick. The Parliament had been sitting 
for two days and nights unceasingly. The 
Czechs, who wished to obstruct the passing of 
a Bill, had been behaving like buffoons. They 
rattled their desks and banged the lids to 
drown the speaker's voice. They brought all 
kinds of noisy instruments to disturb the de- 
liberations. Rain-machines, used in theatres to 
imitate the sound of rain on the roofs, were 
rattled ; other members blew upon trumpets and 
penny whistles. Czechs of huge build spoke 
for ten hours at a time. Friends supplied them 
with water and chocolate while they carried on 
their obstruction. At night the Opposition slept 
in the passages upon mattresses. Rolled in 
top-coats, they v/ere ready to swarm in when- 
ever their services were required at a moment's 
notice. The attendants smiled at the heaps of 
bodies lying prone, but ready to fight. The 
floor of the Parliament was untidy. Balls of 
paper soaked in ink that had been flung at an 
opponent or at the President were seen on the 
floor. All kinds of missiles lay thick, for the 
attendants, careful of their personal safety, had 
not ventured to pick them up. It was difficult 
to realise that the Austrian Parliament was not 
a third-rate tavern. 


Year after year the Parliament spent the 
precious hours that should have been given to 
making its voice heard in the country to this 
kind of foolishness. The Opposition, instead 
of securing a majority, always hoped to delay 
business and thus secure concessions that the 
majority was unwilling to grant. They did not 
see that they were playing the game of the 
Central Administration, which rejoiced to see 
them making themselves ridiculous and losing 
such influence as they possessed by virtue of 
their office. 

In Hungary things were worse than in Aus- 
tria. The elections were nothing more than a 
farce. There was no secret ballot. Votes were 
openly bought and sold. When the Govern- 
ment could not secure a majority for its candi- 
date, soldiers were used to keep the Opposition 
voters from the booths. The Hungarians 
clamoured for general suffrage and the removal 
of the property qualification, which kept the 
election in the hands of a few men, but they 
asked in vain. Their country districts were 
represented by Government candidates, and 
even in the towns it was seldom that an inde- 
pendent candidate of any standing got in. 

The disorders were even worse than in the 
Vienna Parliament. The President, Count 


Tisza, thought nothing of clearing the House 
with soldiers, and had the members chased into 
the street at the point of the bayonet. The 
members were constantly sending challenges 
and fighting duels among themselves instead of 
attending to business. 

The Government delegated large powers to 
the local Diets, which decided questions of ex- 
penditure, and, upon the whole, acquitted them- 
selves of their tasks in a very satisfactory 
manner. Unfortunately, much of the money 
that was granted for local purposes remained 
unspent, as the permission required for liquidat- 
ing the sums did not come from the Central 
Government. If a road were required for mili- 
tary purposes or a railway needed for the trans- 
port of troops, the Central Government made a 
handsome contribution to the cost; if it were 
simply required for the development of the 
country generally, the project was not en- 
couraged. When the Diets ventured into 
the realms of politics they were promptly 
informed that they must keep within the limits 
of their own jurisdiction. 

The central authorities in Vienna and Buda- 
pesth had for years followed a policy of blind- 
ing the people; they had encouraged frivolity 
in every form. Everything was done to turn 


people's minds from serious subjects to pleasure 
and enjoyment. The reputation enjoyed by 
both Vienna and Budapesth as the gayest 
capitals in Europe was fully deserved. The 
intellectual classes were completely hood- 
winked, and had no idea of what was really 
going on, either at home or abroad. The same 
results were accomplished in the country by 
keeping the people in ignorance and with- 
holding education from them. While much 
money was spent on the education of Germans 
and Magyars, the ruling races, great economy 
was practised towards the Slavs. The powerful 
Bohemians managed to secure education for 
their children, and the Government statistics 
show that lOO per cent, of the children of school 
age in Bohemia actually were in attendance at 
school in 1906. In Galicia only 85 per cent, are 
reported as in attendance ; while in Croatia 
68 per cent, went to school, and in Bosnia and 
Herzegowina only 14 per cent. In every case 
the local authorities were forced to provide 
education for the children, unless they lived on 
isolated farms where it was really impossible. 
The Government, however, refused its grants 
wherever it could, as the money was needed for 
purposes whicH did not appear in the Budget. 
The Slavs and Croats protested bitterly against 



a system which inflicted upon them heavy taxes, 
mostly indirect, and kept the benefits for the 
ruling races. This maladministration was one 
of the chief causes of the continual unrest 
among the subject-peoples. 

The Emperor, and indeed all the members 
of the Imperial family, lived in an atmosphere 
apart. They never considered whither their 
policy was leading, nor that the system of sup- 
pression could not be carried on indefinitely at 
this period of history. Most of the men in 
power would have shone in the Middle Ages; 
they were useless and impracticable now that 
commercial travellers have taken the places of 
knights-errant and trade is more important than 
armaments. They did not realise that in sup- 
pressing progress they were handicapping the 
country in its race for commercial supremacy 
and preventing its being able to compete with 
Germany at home and abroad. In their fear 
of the " people " getting to the fore, they neg- 
lected the foe beyond the frontier. 



The constant friction between Emperor 
Francis Joseph and his heir was always in- 
creased when the autumn manoeuvres came 
round. The Emperor, who was over eighty, 
wished to attend them, and on two occasions 
they had to be put off, as the doctors said that 
the monarch could not spend his nights sleeping 
in a tent. Archduke Francis Ferdinand was 
always too ready to take up the duties which 
would have been performed by the Emperor 
had he been younger. Thus the hatred be- 
tween the reigning monarch and his heir in- 
creased every year. The Emperor was pre- 
pared to allow his heir a large sum of money 
if he would consent to resign his right to the 
throne. This was not because of his personal 
antipathy. The doctors who attended the Arch- 

P 2 


duke said that he was not entirely responsible 
for his actions. They suspected that he had 
an abscess on the brain. He had committed 
hasty, ill-considered actions that could be par- 
doned in an Archduke, but that were not pos- 
sible for an Emperor, who must always keep 
his temper. The Imperial family dreaded the 
time of his coming to the throne. They had 
notified the Emperor that they would withdraw 
from the Court if Duchess Hohenberg were 
made Empress. At that epoch no one doubted 
that the Archduke would create her Empress 
of Austria and Queen of Hungary on his acces- 

The manoeuvres in Bosnia — arranged to take 
place there because the peoples of the newly- 
annexed provinces had been somewhat rest- 
less — were about to take place. Archduke 
Francis Ferdinand decided to assist. His wife 
said that she would accompany him. The Em- 
peror was very angry. He did not wish the 
Archduke to go to Bosnia. He was much too 
unpopular to take such a risk. When Emperor 
Francis Joseph heard that Duchess Hohenberg 
was to accompany her husband, his wrath knew 
no bounds. The ladies of the Imperial family 
never accompanied their husbands on such 
occasions. If the Archduke and his wife went 


to Bosnia she would be received as the future 
Empress of Austria. The Emperor forbade 
him to take her. The Archduke insisted. If 
there was any danger, his wife, who was really 
courageous, would wish to be at his side. The 
Emperor, who was very jealous about his 
authority, was extremely angry. It is very 
probable that he did not hide his feelings from 
his near relations. 

The next news that reached Vienna was that 
the Archduke and his wife had been assas- 
sinated at Sarajevo. The crime was committed 
on a Sunday. It was midsummer in Vienna, 
and, strange to say, every important personage 
was on the spot. As a rule, the official per- 
sonages left Vienna on the Saturday, when 
there were two consecutive holidays, as in this 
case, the Monday being a fete-ddiy, and spent 
the week-end at the Semmering. On this par- 
ticular occasion everyone was in Vienna. The 
Emperor was at Ischl. The telegram with the 
news was sent there first. He exclaimed, " What 
impertinence of those Bosnians ! " but was not 
otherwise moved. 

The official account of the assassination, 
which was full of discrepancies, was then' sent 
to Vienna. According to this account, a bomb 
had been thrown at the Archduke and his wife 


on their way to the Sarajevo town-hall. It had 
failed to kill them. The Archduke, little 
moved by the occurrence, merely taunted the 
/ Mayor of Sarajevo with the lack of courtesy 
that the people had shown. " Instead of pre- 
senting us with bouquets, you receive us with 
bombs." The Archduke could afford to make 
merry over his escape. He naturally expected 
1 that the streets had been cleared of people 
, during his long visit to the town-hall. It was a 
matter of elementary precaution. The Bosnian 
police, however, had received instructions from 
Vienna that the Archduke's safety was to be 
left in the hands of the military. The Arch- 
duke and his wife entered the car. The driver 
started off. He was in the plot. He drove 
them right across the road to where the mur- 
derer was waiting. This meant running the 
car on the wrong side of the road. Every- 
one noticed this, but no one protested. 
No one seized the assassin after he had fired 
at the Archduke's head. He had ample time 
to kill the wife too. The boy, too, knew a 
secret that was carefully kept in the Imperial 
family. Archduke Francis Ferdinand was 
wearing armour. For this reason the assassins 
tried to kill him with a bomb. This attempt 
having failed, the assassin fired at his head 


instead of at his breast. Both Kaiser Wilhelm 
and Archduke Francis Ferdinand spent much 
time and thought in trying to find bullet-proof 
armour. At the time of the assassination the 
Archduke was wearing a silken vest an inch 
thick. It was woven obliquely — made on the 
same principle as the jackets used for auto- 
mobile tyres. It was warranted to turn the 
point of a knife or bullet. The vest was cum- 
bersome and somewhat warm. It gave the 
Archduke an appearance of extreme stoutness. 
He, however, knowing how intensely he was 
hated in Austria and Hungary, never cared to 
appear in public without some protective 
armour. Steel corselets were excellent in by- 
gone days, but are no use against a modern 
rifle. The Archduke feared he might be shot 
from a window. The secret that the Arch- 
duke was wearing armour was known to half- 
a-dozen people at most. The assassin must 
have learnt it from a member of the Imperial 

A number of reporters started for Sarajevo 
that night to find out what had really happened 
there on that dark Sunday. They were 
turned back by the police. All letters from 
individuals in Sarajevo were censored. The 
telegraphic service was suspended. The police 



were never even reprimanded for allowing the 
heir to the throne to be assassinated. On the 
contrary, the heads of the force were promoted 
shortly afterwards. 

/( In Vienna the news was received with ill- 
concealed satisfaction. Everyone, from Arch- 
duke to crossing-sweeper, feared the day of his 
coming to power. The story went out to the 
/world that the Archduke Francis Ferdinand 
'had been killed by Serbs. This w^as not true. 
I The young men concerned in the conspiracy 
were Bosnians, and Austrian subjects. The 
Government, however, saw that there was a 
chance of forcing a war upon Servia. If 
Austria could only prove that Servia had been 
responsible for the crime, she could under- 
take her long-planned '' vengeance promen- 
ade " to Belgrade with the assurance that 
Europe would not interfere. Statesmen an- 
ticipated no difficulty in fastening the guilt on 
Servia, as the murders of King Alexander and 
Queen Draga were not forgotten. Austria, 
however, forgot her own black record. Em- 
peror Maximilian of Mexico had been shot. It 
was always felt that more might have been done 
by his own family for his safety. Empress 
Elizabeth had been assassinated at Geneva. 
Her decease was most convenient. The 


country was wearied of hearing of the pilgrim- 
age of the heartbroken woman through Europe. 
Crown Prince Rudolf, who was much too 
popular, had also been murdered mysteriously. 
The persons concerned in his death had all been 
exiled. They had been sent to South America, 
but pensions sufficient to keep them in luxury 
for the rest of their lives had been bestowed 
upon them. These riches were only held on 
condition that the fearful night at the lonely 
hunting-box near Vienna was never mentioned. 
Emperor Francis Joseph had thus lost his three 
nearest relatives by assassination. 

The news of the Archduke's assassination 
was only discussed in whispers in Vienna. 
Everyone was afraid of arrest. Nevertheless, 
no one thought of accusing Servia. Archduke 
Francis Ferdinand was the one man in all the 
country who favoured the Slavs. His wife's 
influence would secure advancement at Court 
for every man with Slavonic blood in his veins. 
The Germans feared that they would be over- 
run with them. While Austrians and Hun- 
garians generally detested the Archduke, the 
Slavs loved him devotedly. It was clear that 
neither the Austrian Slavs nor Servia had any 
interest in the Archduke's death. They had 
everything to lose. 


The Imperial family was most anxious for 
his death. Archduke Frederick had never for- 
gotten the slight put upon his daughter. 

The assassin had definite instructions to 
murder the Duchess Hohenberg. Such orders 
could only come from persons actuated by 
motives of personal hatred. No one else in the 
world desired her death. Women, especially 
aristocrats and the mothers of families, are held 
in great veneration in Slav countries. It is 
certain that had the Bosnians arranged the plot, 
the Archduke would have been shot, but the 
morganatic wife spared. She was not even a 
member of the Imperial family. Why should 
she be sacrificed ? 

The remains of the Archduke and his wife 
were brought to Vienna. The Austrians, a 
Catholic people, and accustomed to exag- 
gerated respect being paid to the dead, were 
deeply shocked at the funeral arrangements. 
The Imperial family wished that every possible 
insult should be shown to the remains of the 
defunct lady-in-waiting. 

Italians living in Trieste describe with horror 
the landing of the cofhns, which were brought 
from Bosnia by sea. They had no cause to 
love the Archduke, but were outraged by the 
disrespect to the dead. The sailors who carried 


them from the ship let one coffin drop upon the 
quay through carelessness. It lay there until 
they had taken breath and felt inclined to 
resume their burden. The funeral arrange- 
ments in Vienna were of a very third-class 
order. The Austrians said : " The Imperial 
family has no respect — not even for death. 
Their hate pursues its victims beyond the 
tomb." The city was filled with reports of un- 
seemly disputes about the funeral arrange- 
ments. The Imperial family wished to separate 
the pair of lovers, who had been so loyal to 
each other in life, and bury them separately. It 
was an outrage, they said, that any Habsburg 
should walk behind the coffin of a morganatic 
wife. Finally, it was arranged that the coffins 
should lie in state side by side in the Hofburg 
Chapel. The Chapelle Ardente was poorly 
fitted; trappings for a third-class funeral were 
used. The military party in Austria-Hungary 
was indignant that such an insult should be put 
on a soldier. Old men, dressed in their uni- 
forms ablaze with Orders and military decora- 
tions, entered the sombre chapel, which was not 
even properly supplied with candles. Bursting 
with indignation and rage, they knelt and said 
a short prayer for the dead. The deep-toned 
mutterings sounded more like cries for venge- 


ance than prayers for the souls of the departed. 
Bohemian nobles came into the chapel. They 
glared at the unseemly sight. Everything was 

Early in the morning a huge crowd had 
gathered to take part in the procession in front 
of the coffins. Every Austro-Hungarian sub- 
ject has the right to see the face of the deceased 
monarch or of the heir to the throne after death. 
The Archduke's coffin was sealed down. His 
face could not be exposed ; his head had been 
so disfigured. But, nevertheless, the Ringstrasse 
was filled with people. They were permitted to 
enter the chapel in single file. The police on 
the great Ringstrasse sent many home, assuring 
them that their turn to enter the Hofburg would 
never be reached. This show of popular sym- 
pathy had enraged the Court. When the 
funeral procession was on its way to the station 
in Vienna after the lying-in-state, an un- 
rehearsed incident took place. A large number 
of Bohemian aristocrats, with Prince Max Egon 
Fiirstenburg at their head, assembled in one of 
the squares. They were either in costume or 
uniform, and were wearing the arms that be- 
longed to their rank — short daggers, for the 
most part. They walked bareheaded behind 
the funeral as chief mourners to show their 


respect to Duchess Hohenberg, a member of 
the Bohemian aristocracy, and their resentment 
at the insults that had been heaped upon her 
head. Who were th^ proud Habsburgs to treat 
a Bohemian and a woman in such a way ? Their 
whole attitude was not one of mourning, but of 

The finals scenes took place at Arstatten, 
beyond the Danube. They were disgraceful 
beyond anything that had happened before. A 
violent storm forced the funeral cortege to take 
refuge in an inn. The mutes became offen- 
sively drunk. Ghastly stories of the coffins 
being knocked off the chairs that were support- 
ing them were circulated in Vienna. These 
may have been exaggerated. There was, how-' 
ever, some truth in the tales of impiety. 

There was no one responsible in charge of 
the funeral. This was extraordinary, as the 
most unimportant Court ceremonies are always 
managed by experts long trained to do the right 
thing. Nothing is left to chance or accident. 
But the Archduke, the heir to the throne, was 
buried with less respect than would have been 
shown to an employe in the Court service had 
he died that week. 



Austria-Hungary had long been anxious to 
go to war. She had been straining at the leash 
for years. The peaceful issue to the Annexa- 
tion crisis had not pleased Austrian statesmen. 
They were still less satisfied at the check put 
upon their aggressive plans at the time of the 
signing of the Treaty of Bucharest. In the 
first instance, the credit of preserving peace was 
entirely due to Germany. She was not ready. 
On the second occasion, Italy's refusal to fight 
against the Serbs or to stand by Austria in an 
aggressive war was probably the decisive factor, 
for then Germany was ready, and only waiting 
for a good pretext to break the peace of Europe. 

When Kaiser Wilhelm heard of the assas- 
sination at Sarajevo he immediately saw that 
the chance so long sought had come. Such an 
opportunity would never occur again. But he 
knew that he must play his cards with skill. 


The Emperor of Austria would be delighted at 
a chance of punishing Servia, for her states- 
men, who felt secure under the protection of 
Russia, had used expressions in parleying with 
Austria that irritated the aged Emperor. He 
could not brook that small Balkan States of 
very recent growth should place themselves on 
a level with the Austro-Hungarian Empire. 
His councillors succeeded in making him be- 
lieve that the Serbs were responsible for the 
crime of Sarajevo. The aged Emperor, per- 
haps, had some suspicion of the truth. He 
did not want to know it, however. Providence 
had intervened and removed an obnoxious per- 
sonage, and had at the same time given Austria 
a chance of thrashing Servia. The Emperor 
considered that the thrashing was long over- 
due. Why should he, the faithful son of the 
Church, inquire too closely into events that had 
fallen out so propitiously? The Emperor, 
however, only wished to send a punitive ex- 
pedition to Belgrade. Gunboats could bombard 
the capital from the Danube, and Austria's 
honour would be satisfied. The Emperor in 
no wise wished for a war with Russia. Apart 
from other considerations, he was bound in 
honour not to seek a quarrel with the " peace " 
Czar. When the Annexation crisis was at its 


height, Emperor Francis Joseph sent Prince 
Hohenlohe to St. Petersburg with an autograph 
letter, begging the Czar to allow him to end his 
days in peace. The terms in which this docu- 
ment was couched made it almost impossible 
for Austria to seek war with Russia so long as 
Emperor Francis Joseph was at the head of 
affairs. It was a breach of the honour that reigns 
among monarchs, for the appeal had been made 
as from a brother-sovereign. Kaiser W^ilhelm 
was aware of this. But he was ready to stoop to 
any crime to accomplish his object. He and his 
councillors decided that the aged man at 
Schonbrunn could be deceived. He must think 
that the war would be merely a local affair. 
The Austrians, too, were longing to show their 
prowess against Servia, but a war with Russia 
would not be popular either in Austria or Hun- 
gary. It is doubtful whether any Austro-Hun- 
garian statesman who understood the situation 
would have consented to acts that must inevit- 
ably lead to a European war. The idea of 
a series of small wars, first against Italy and 
then against the mutinous Balkan States, was 
favoured in Vienna. Kaiser Wilhelm had a 
singular talent for discovering unscrupulous 
men. The German Ambassador in Vienna, 
Count Tchirsky, was a complete tool in the 


hands of the Kaiser. He did not hesitate to lie 
to Count Tisza when occasion occurred. Count 
Tisza is a man of peculiar loyalty, and he could 
not understand utter unscrupulousness in an- 
other. Moreover, like all aristocrats, he was at 
a disadvantage in dealing with Germans, as he 
was a gentleman and his opponents were not. 
He was always at Budapesth, and therefore 
had no chance of watching the machinations 
employed by the Germans in Vienna. With 
Count Berchtold the German Ambassador had 
an easy task. The Count did not take things 
seriously, and fell into the toils spread for him 
by German statesmen. He really believed that 
the Emperor was an old man in his dotage, and 
neglected the other side of his character. In 
spite of his age and weakness, the Emperor 
Francis Joseph had enjoyed a unique experi- 
ence as the oldest reigning monarch in Europe, 
and was able through this to judge of any 
question with an acumen exhibited by few 

Germany decided that the moment for letting 
a European war break loose had come, and her 
reasons for this decision were weighty. The 
most important of all was the " Slav danger," 
as it was generally called in Germany and Aus- 
.tria-Hungary. Twenty years ago the Germxan 



family averaged sixteen to eighteen children. 
In Austria, too, large families had been the rule. 
The Magyars in Hungary still boasted big 
families, but the cancer that had bitten into 
German social life was beginning to be seen 
there, too. The one-child family had become 
the fashion in Germany. The mode was 
adopted by the Germans in Austria. States- 
men scolded, and proposed to tax bachelors and 
childless couples. But they were unable to 
stop the terrifying decrease in the population. 
Meanwhile, the Slavonic races in both Germany 
and Austria and Hungary multiplied very 
rapidly. Military men complained that regi- 
ments, officers and men, were composed entirely 
of Slavs, because there were not sufficient 
Austro-Germans or Magyars, It was impos- 
sible to enter a room where men of purely Ger- 
man extraction had assembled without hearing 
of this " Slav danger," which hung like a night- 
mare over the ruling races in Germany. Aus- 
tria and Hungary saw their preponderance 
threatened. They doctored statistics to hide 
the truth. This was of little use. The Slav type 
was unmistakable. Slavs did not care to inter- 
marry with Germans, and the race remained 
purely Slavonic, although Serbs and Czechs 
often intermarried. A war would afford an op- 


portunity of reducing the Slav population. The 
military authorities had arranged to place the 
regiments composed of subject-races in the 
front of the battle so that they might be killed 
off. In 19 14 leading men in both Germany and 
Austria-Hungary considered that war was in- 
evitable within the next five years if they were 
to retain their supremacy. 

The financial factor, too, was largely respon- 
sible for hastening the date of the war. 
Large sums had been spent on armaments in 
both Germany and Austria-Hungary far beyond 
the capacity of either country. Taxation had 
risen imperceptibly, and with it the cost of 
living. This had affected the middle classes. 
It is doubtful whether the families of officials 
in State employ and army officers ever got a 
really satisfactory meal in the last years of pre- 
paration. Men dressed in gorgeous uniforms, 
and with Orders and decorations that showed 
their rank, walked about the streets gaunt and 

People said, " This cannot go on." States- 
men saw that it would be revolution or war. 
Austria was faced with bankruptcy unless she 
could fight a successful war which would open 
fresh regions for exploitation and relieve her 
of her surplus Slavs. 

Q 2 


Undue importance was attached to news of 
unrest in Great Britain, both in Germany and 
Austria-Hungary. Spies, men who were only 
too ready to believe that Britain was at her last 
gasp, brought back reports that a revolution 
was about to break out. The Irish question 
was misunderstood. The greed and hate that 
had been nurtured in every German heart pre- 
vented the spy from exercising any judgment, 
while the statesmen who should have controlled 
their reports had also lost their usual faculty of 
calm judgment in the bitterness of their hate. 
The woman question, which was seen in its 
ugliest aspects abroad, made the Germans 
realise that there was something wrong. Why 
were they so discontented ? What had been 
done to render them so bitter? The question 
was asked in the Press and in public, and no 
explanation was forthcoming. 

Jews who travelled throughout Europe on 
business brought back evil reports of conditions 
in England. They said that they had searched 
the length and breadth of the land for a capable 
business man to push their interests. They had 
returned from their quest unsatisfied. Germans 
and Austrians who had resided in England ex- 
plained this by saying that all the better ele- 
ments in the country had emigrated long ago. 


Men could find no work unless they had 
influence. These facts were confirmed by 
observation, and undue importance was at- 
tached to them, single examples being too 
hastily accepted as indicative of the general 
state of things. 

The preference shown by English business 
men for German clerks was regarded as an- 
other proof that the English were " a back 

If Britain were degenerating, Russia was on 
the up-grade. She was arming. She was re- 
forming her public offices. Large loans had 
been contracted, and she was about to build 
railways to the frontier. The Austro-Russian 
front in Galicia bristled with fortresses. Every 
week brought news of some new fortifications, 
made either on the Austrian or the Russian side. 
The Slav peoples in the Balkans were also on 
the up-grade. Everywhere the Germans saw 
themselves surrounded by Slavs, who were 
educating and improving themselves. 

Meanwhile, not only the German people, but 
the German army, was deteriorating. Nasty 
stories, like The Small Garrison, were being 
written, describing life in small garrison towns. 
The Austrian and Hungarian officers were also 
suffering from the corrupt life which they led. 


It was very uncertain whether they would have 
the necessary nerve to take the initiative at a 
crisis. Kaiser Wilhelm saw that the time was 
not far distant when his officers would be as 
bad as the Austrians. It was bad policy to 
wait until the growing evil that had corrupted 
the Austro-Hungarian army had infected his 



Diplomacy had succeeded in keeping the 
peace on two former occasions. In Western 
Europe it was believed that it would be suc- 
cessful again. Austria's intention of going to 
war was not regarded as serious. The Euro- 
pean jfinancier especially could not bring him- 
self to believe in war. Some of the ablest men 
in Europe sat in the open-air cafe on the Ring- 
strasse, unable to close an eye in sleep for fear 
that they should miss news of supreme import- 
ance and not be there to " cover " at the critical 
moment. At two in the morning the great 
houses on either side of the street shook as the 
motors carrying the big guns rumbled past the 
cafe. They were taken off at dead of night 
and deposited on the low-lying ground near 
the Danube. Next morning the great gun was 
taken to pieces. One half of the immense 


engine of destruction was slung on big hooks on 
a frame made for the purpose. It looked like 
a great hollow cradle that would have provided 
sleeping accommodation for a couple of men 
as it swirled and rocked when the train took a 
steep gradient. " Why have they brought out 
their big guns, which are so difficult to transport 
on the steep gradients in this mountainous 
country, if they do not mean business?" 
" Merely to frighten Servia and cow her into 
submission." " Then why is everything being 
done so secretly?" "Merely to heighten the 
effect," was the reply. Foreign diplomacy was 
not so blind, but it sat tight, and refused to give 
any opinion. 

The State controls the railways in Austro- 
Hungary, excepting for one or two lines. The 
great termini in Vienna lie at different ends of 
the city. Ordinary passengers had to cross the 
town in cabs. The Orient express, however, 
was allowed to make use of the military com- 
munication railway to save time. This circular 
railway joined up all the big junctions. It had 
been constructed for purely military purposes 
to pass troops and munitions from one station 
to the other quickly and secretly. In solitary 
places, sidings, with an iron pontoon for heavy 
guns, and perhaps an immense crane, stood 


moss-grown and idle. They were ready against 
the great day when Austria would go to war. 
The chief preparations were made in the Prater, 
an Imperial park that had been thrown open to 
the public many years before. In the waste 
swamp-land behind the park, which stretched 
down to the main stream of the Danube, there 
were cranes used for unloading barges that 
came up the river from the Balkans, and that 
also served for the mobilisation. Just beyond 
this ground there was a caf^ much frequented 
by the diplomatists of Vienna. Close by was 
the British Golf Club.. The cafe had, no doubt, 
come into fashion because the chiefs of the 
Diplomatic Service in Austria congregated there 
to meet military men, who took their morning 
ride, where they could supervise the training of 
recruits, in the waste land beyond. But the 
position of the golf ground needed explanation. 
Who had chosen to plump the course right in 
the midst of the probable scene of any military 
preparation ? 

No answer will ever be made to this question. 
The British diplomatist, when he has a streak 
of Celtic blood in his make-up, is undoubtedly 
the finest in the world. He has the great gift 
of silence. Other men of great repute and long 
training always envy the Englishman his im- 


perturbable face, which serves him as a com- 
plete mask. Nothing provokes him into a dis- 
play of emotion ; his habitual calm prevents the 
enemy ever surprising him into a betrayal of 
his country's secrets by a smile or a grimace. 
This is a unique gift. The secret police in every 
city of Europe will tell you that there is no 
catching an Englishman off his guard. His 
news is always sound. He does not care for 
information from doubtful sources ; he mis- 
doubts the foreigner and all his ways. He 
takes endless trouble in following up clues, but 
will not venture to draw conclusions. He is 
careful never to compromise himself by em- 
ploying unworthy tools, and is never in 
" trouble " with the authorities or under sus- 
picion like other diplomatists. 

Unfortunately, there are always too few of 
him. He is hampered by having no residents 
in the British colony that he can consult. The 
first years of a diplomatist's life in a foreign 
country are occupied in learning the lie of the 
land. Until he is acquainted with the rudi- 
ments of the language and the significance of 
the utterances of the different papers, he can 
do no useful work. 

The German diplomatist, a man without a 
vestige of imagination, ignorant of the very 


first rules of diplomacy, unaware of the meaning 
of delicacy in his conduct as the guest of a 
foreign monarch, nevertheless frequently con- 
trives to defeat his opponents. Why is this? 
How is it done? The German would be in- 
capable of producing the results that he has 
been able to show were it not for the powerful 
"hand behind the throne." Diplomatists at a 
Court like Vienna must be noblemen, and it 
is a matter of general knowledge that German 
aristocrats are not astute as a general rule. 
They have no conception of anything beyond the 
obvious. Hints and allusions are quite thrown 
away upon them. Now a diplomatist must be 
a man of very delicate perceptions. It may be 
safely said that such a thing does not exist in 
Germany. The Prussian especially is very 
obtuse. The Germans possess one great virtue. 
They are aware of their deficiencies. The 
diplomatist, who feels he is lacking in all the 
essential qualities of a politician, takes a 
partner — a very active partner, who is never 
seen or heard, but, none the less, is respon- 
sible for much of the work. He is a Jew, 
who manages the whole organisation of the 
work. He finances the diplomatist. German 
diplomatists are not paid much in proportion 
to the show that they are expected to make. 


Everything is " solid," but nothing more. 
The Government, however, authorises an 
almost unlimited expenses account. This 
money is not squandered. Much is spent in the 
form of tips to persons who may be of use. 
No other diplomatist could venture to pay 
small sums of money to all sorts of doubtful 
persons in the first years of his residence at a 
foreign Court. Such persons might be, and 
probably are, spies of the Government, or 
members of the secret police. The German 
diplomatist is not troubled with these doubts. 
On entering his embassy he finds a record of 
all the work, clean and unclean, done by his 
predecessors, and the financial man, who has 
been in the post for years, in charge. Every 
successful means of getting information is sug- 
gested to him. He thus gets the benefit of the 
experience of his predecessors, avoids their 
mistakes, and improves on their methods, as 
every new man can. No German nobleman 
could carry on this business unaided. The Jew 
is a man of business, far excellence. His prin- 
ciple is, " Never take anything without paying 
for it." He not only pays for any little service 
rendered, delicately considering the feelings of 
the recipient, and where gold would give 
offence he sees that an order, or, perhaps, a 


much-coveted title is bestowed, but he always 
makes sure that the recipient is satisfied. A 
Jew, concerned in statecraft, will never allow a 
tool, however humble, to go away discontented, 
for if he did he would have made him a danger- 
ous enemy, instead of a grateful servant. 

A young diplomatist starting for the Balkans 
will carry a set of instructions which regulate 
his every act in everyday life. " Put up at 

the Hotel." "Give the waiter at the 

restaurant a big tip . . . not sufficient to 

excite suspicion, but enough to render him 
communicative." " Find means of getting to 

know the big German manufacturer at 

without being se.en with him too much." " Cul- 
tivate the men connected with travel bureaux as 
much as possible without compromising your 
position." Imagine a young Englishman told 
off to cultivate men behind a counter ! But the 
proud German will make any sacrifice, will- 
ingly, and, indeed, counts it no loss, for he is 
never a snob. Snobbism is unknown in either 
Germany or Austria-Hungary. Diplomatists 
are always born within the magic circle. They 
are always men belonging to families admitted 
to Court functions. This means an ancient 
family. Persons outside this circle are not re- 
garded as equals. Far from it. They are so 


far removed from the nobility that they are 
looked upon as people of different flesh and 
blood. The German aristocrat thinks of the 
commoner somewhat as the Spaniard of the 
Southern States regards a nigger. But just 
because he condescends, he is very polite. The 
poor commoner must not guess his feelings. 
He can treat him as a friend and a brother 
without any risk of suffering loss of caste in 
the eyes of his peers. Where comparison is 
impossible there is no fear of his losing rank by 
associating with men of a different mould. 

The young Englishman might speak in the 
street to a prominent fellow-countryman en- 
gaged in trade. Never, however, would he con- 
descend to sit down at one table with his vulgar 
wife, and thus make a willing slave of him for 
ever. The Jew, watching the steps of the new 
diplomatists, is very careful to ascertain that 
any favour conferred will be accepted with 
gratitude, otherwise it is never offered. 

The German diplomatist always speaks a 
number of languages, sometimes with a slight 
accent, sometimes like a native. He learnt them 
in the nursery. The British diplomatist usually 
speaks the language of the country to which he 
is accredited more or less fluently, but he 
seldom knows a second language. French is 


the language of the Balkans. But the variety 
spoken is very unlike pure Parisian. It is only 
possible to converse with Albanian princes, 
Turkish pashas, Rumanians, and other people 
from the south if one's knowledge of French is 
very exact. Fluency in French makes inter- 
course with Italians and Russians easy, as they 
all speak it. A man who has business in the 
South or in the Tyrol should also speak Italian. 
The people there know German as well as 
Italian, but dislike speaking it. They feel mis- 
trust towards anyone who uses the tongue of 
the oppressor. Besides they do not care to 
discuss politics or give information of any kind 
in a language that every spy or would-be spy 
within hearing can understand. No commer- 
cial traveller would start off without a thorough 
knowledge of the languages prevalent in the 
country in which he was to do business, but 
there is a great laxity of views in regard to the 
standard of linguistic talent required in the 

The members of Embassies and Legations of 
the British Empire are, for the most part, purely 
British. Any strain of foreign blood impairs 
their usefulness to such an extent that this is 
well. The foreign politicians who deal with 
members of the Diplomatic Corps naturally 


mistrust any half-breeds, as they call them. 
They prefer to have to deal with a prospective 
enemy who declares his feelings openly, rather 
than to be obliged to negotiate with the son of 
a German mother, who may be secretly inclined 
to favour his mother's race and make conces- 
sions that will not be ratified by the home 

If the British Diplomatic Service is unique 
in its special line because it is homogeneous, 
the men being all of the same type as their 
confreres in the Home Office or War Office at 
home, the same cannot be said for the Consular 
Service, which, especially in remote parts of 
Europe, is of but small or no benefit to Britain, 
while it has been of irnxmense advantage to her 
rivals in trade. In cases where there is a 
genuine Briton at the head of affairs, he 
naturally takes a British view of all disputes 
that come along and form his daily work. But 
he is a startling exception. Most of the men 
in the Consular Service were Germans or 
natives; they gave their services for nothing, 
saying that the title lent them importance. It 
did. It enabled them to interfere in the thou- 
sand and one difficulties that are always arising 
between shippers and the Government — their 
own Government — and to place the British case 


in a bad light. The shipper, not knowing the 
language, was quite helpless, and went back 
home the poorer in cash and disheartened. His 
owners were annoyed, and decided that they 
would cease to carry on dealings with the 
country in question. A German firm was quite 
ready to rush in to benefit by the facts which 
the consul had carefully ascertained during the 
negotiations, and snap up the trade. The Ger- 
man consul usually gave away large sums of 
money among the indigent in the British colony, 
and thus placed himself in a position that was 
very difficult to assail. If any powerful resi- 
dent felt that the consul was not acting alto- 
gether in British interests, the latest subscrip- 
tion, probably a princely donation to some 
British charity, caused him to revise his hasty 
judgment. A man so truly charitable could not 
be guilty of meannesses such as he had sus- 
pected. He did not realise that the consul put 
the thumping big subscription down in his 
expenses account, entered as " Money to blind 
British residents." The British merchant 
prince, perhaps, did not care to assist some 
poor countryman; he left it to the consul, who 
took the money ostensibly from his own pocket, 
and the Englishman, ashamed at his niggardli- 
ness, felt that his mouth was effectually shut, 



even when he was more than doubtful about 
some action taken with regard to his country's 
interests. These things happened in many 
places, and led British subjects living abroad 
to regard justice and law as non-existent so far as 
they were concerned. They were forced to have 
resort to all kinds of subterfuges to obtain the 
most elementary rights. They avoided litiga- 
tion at any cost, for they knew that with a Ger- 
man consul it could only go against them. Old 
residents who knew the language and customs 
of the country were able to carry on business 
even in the German strongholds, for, after all, 
the Englishman is the best business man in the 
world. But they had to work at a disadvantage. 
Germans stood ready to take up the trade should 
the creator of the connection be ill or die. And 
the resident consul was always ready to replace 
the Englishman by his own man. 

In places where there was a British consul 
all this was different. The authorities, feeling 
that a strong hand would protect British 
subjects, hesitated to attack any one of them 
without due cause. In these cities the British 
subject enjoyed the same immunity from un- 
warranted interference as the Italian. The 
Italian consul, at the cost of much inconveni- 
ence and annoyance to himself, would stand by 


a fellow-citizen until he obtained his rights. The 
authorities, knowing this, were frightened to 
interfere with any man who was carrying on a 
legitimate business. The Italian consul knew 
that he had his Government behind him in 
protecting Italian trade, and that his mission 
was to carry on warfare with the German; 
nor did he scruple to use the same 
weapons as his adversary. He was even 
capable of going one better. Perhaps of all 
the peoples of Europe the Italian alone under- 
stands the peculiar character of the German — 
an experience that has been bought at the price 
of much suffering. He knows that it is fatal 
to wait until the German takes the offensive. 
The blow must come from the other side. 
Then the German's indolence will make him 
careful of provoking an adversary of this calibre 
a second time. The Prussian is essentially a 
bully; he can only be brought to reason by a 
frontal attack, and those who know him will 
not hesitate to make it with or without excuse, 
provided they get in the first blow, for the 
struggle must come sooner or later. 

R 2 



Germany and Austria-Hungary hastened on 
their preparations. Transports of munitions 
were hurried to the front. The building of the 
new War Ministry in Vienna, which had long 
been proceeding, was hurried on. The Govern- 
ment did not care to go to war with all the 
mobilisation plans lying in the old building. It 
was situated in a crowded part of the city close 
to the flower market. It would have been very 
easy to blow up the entire structure. Many of 
the Slavs within the Empire would not have 
hesitated to use their opportunity of throwing 
everything into confusion. The new War 
Office on the Ringstrasse, built in the newest 
and worst style of architecture, was easily 

The German preparations were on a much 
vaster scale than those made in Austria-Hun- 


gary. Germany was preparing for a world-' 
war, Austria-Hungary for a punitive expedition 
against Servia. Austria has always been 
solicitous of the good opinion of other coun- 
tries. She now sent out batches of official 
despatches intended to incriminate Servia in 
the eyes of Europe. Germany, who cared little 
upon what pretext she began the Great War, 
and knew that she must earn hatred for herself 
throughout the civilised world, did nothing to 
prepare the world. She knew that it was a 
general war, Why waste time and efforts in 
justifying Germany's right to be "iiber alles"? 
Conquerors of the world do not stop to explain 
their methods. 

As the weeks went by Austria-Hungary 
began to weaken in her resolve. German 
diplomatists noticed the hesitation. They sug- 
gested that a stiff Note should be sent to 
Servia. When the text of the famous Note 
appeared, it was noticed that the phraseology 
was not Austrian. It was not couched in the 
soft language — a sort of modified German — 
spoken on the banks of the Danube, but in the 
rude terms heard farther north. Everyone said 
that the text of the Note had been written in 
Berlin. It is just possible that Count Tisza 
had been a party to it. He kept up constant 


intercourse with Berlin, and may have visited 
the Emperor or been consulted over the tele- 
phone. The intention of the Note was clear. 
No State with any claim to sovereign rights 
could accept it. Austria-Hungary demanded 
the right to send her own police to Servia to 
investigate the crime of Sarajevo, although it 
had been committed on Austrian ground by 
Austrian subjects. No Serb was implicated. 
The Austrian Government was unable to bring- 
any proofs of Servian complicity beyond vague 
assertions that the assassin had received in- 
struction in military exercises in the ranks of a 
volunteer corps in Lelgrade. Austria relied 
upon the strength of unproven assertions to 
establish an absolutely untenable case. The 
Note was not only couched in the most insulting 
terms ; it demanded an answer within forty- 
eight hours. During those forty-eight hours 
strong diplomatic pressure was brought to bear 
upon Servia. She finally consented to eat 
humble pie. She was willing to do this in 
spite of her recent conquests. She had van- 
quished Bulgaria and had added considerably 
to the extent of her territory. Russia fully 
appreciated her position. It was difficult for 
any Government to accept the terms of such a 
Note, for the people could not be expected to 


understand the political necessity. Neverthe- 
less, at four o'clock on the fatal Saturday, news 
was received from Belgrade that Servia had 
resolved to submit. Her diplomatists said that 
she had no choice. Her army was exhausted. 
Her stock of munitions was low. She needed 
all her available funds to carry on the work of 
reconstruction of the devastated country. The 
Albanians, in the newly acquired regions, were 
giving continual trouble. They descended 
from their mountains and stole cattle from the 
Serbs. Expeditions had been sent against 
them, but, as the Serbs said, the Albanians had 
been accustomed from time immemorial to 
make an annual descent into the plains for the 
purpose of re-victualling, and the fact that the 
land where their depredations were made be- 
longed to Servia instead of being a part of the 
decrepit Turkish Empire made no difference. 
Many of the Albanians hardly knew of the 
change of government. They needed cattle 
and corn, and naturally made raids to get it. 
Servia, however, was forced to keep an army on 
the frontier because of them. 

These considerations, and the pressure 
brought to bear by the Russian Ambassador, 
rendered Servia willing to consent to any terms. 

Russia stood by her small ally, and sent out 


an official warning that she could " not remain 
indifferent to Servia's fate." This softened the 
natural chagrin felt by the small State in yield- 
ing to Austria. Servia's answer was a soft reply 
to a rough question. She accepted most of the 
cruel conditions imposed upon her, but desired 
to refer one point to a Hague Convention. 
Everyone in Austria considered the answer 
sufficient. The news circulated in Vienna that 
the crisis was over. An emissary from the 
Vatican, who had been working hard for peace, 
spread the joyful news through the city. His 
face shone with satisfaction as he passed from 
group to group in the waiting crowd. " It was a 
near thing," he said, " but the Serbs are well 
advised to give in." 

Big financiers breathed again, and some of 
the newspapers began printing extra editions. 
The editions were mere sheets of paper, dis- 
tributed gratis, as newspapers may not be 
hawked in the streets in Austria. They quoted 
an article in the Servian official paper, saying 
that Servia was willing to give in to the 

Time went on ; such information as could be 
obtained from persons connected with foreign 
diplomatic circles confirmed the news of peace. 

As evening set in the news was received that 


the official answer from Servia had come. It 
was quite satisfactory. The Austrian Govern- 
ment had never thought of Servia's making 
such complete surren"der. Many people started 
off for week-ends in the country, sure that the 
communique that would be issued by the 
Vienna Foreign Office that night would be 
merely an elaboration of the news already 
spread throughout the city. 

The Vienna Bourse, which had been falling 
slowly and steadily ever since the assassina- 
tion of the Archduke, had reached its lowest 
point that morning. Servia's answer had 
reached Vienna in time to effect a lightning 
improvement, and prices were better than they 
had been since the beginning of the crisis. 
Thus there resulted the remarkable pheno- 
menon that prices were steady and firm on the 
very day that a world-war was decided. The 
Bourse was closed for many months after 
the fatal Saturday, the official closing prices 
remaining a remarkable testimony to the nar- 
rowness of the margin between war and peace. 
While the great financiers played on a peace 
basis, others waited. Why was the communique 
not issued ? Was there a hitch ? It was known 
that Count Berchtold, the Austro-Hungarian 
Minister, had telephoned to Berlin. He wished 


to consult with the Kaiser before accepting the 
reply as sufficient. The German Government 
said it was too late to retreat; Servia's answer 
must not be accepted, and counselled Berchtold 
to recall the Austro-Hungarian Minister at Bel- 
grade. Count Berchtold followed Germany's 
advice ; the news became known in Vienna very 
quickly. Extra editions were distributed, say- 
ing that the Minister had left Belgrade and 
that diplomatic relations with Servia were 
broken off. Austrian officials let it be known 
that no declaration of war would be made, and 
that a Great Power would not parley with 
Servia. Gunboats had already started down 
the Danube to bombard Belgrade. Austria 
considered that a small force would be sufficient 
to subjugate Servia, and in the city people 
spoke of the promenade into Belgrade. This 
news was circulated to make any subsequent 
retreat or withdrawal impossible. 

No one thought of a great war that night, for 
the news that Russia intended to stand by 
Servia had been carefully kept back. 

Count Berchtold, having committed the 
Government to war, had a difficult task before 
him. It was very doubtful whether Emperor 
Francis Joseph could be prevailed upon to sign 
the order for a general mobilisation. Large 


bodies of troops had already left for both the 
Servian and Russian fronts, but no general 
mobilisation could take place without an order 
signed by the Emperor. The aged monarch 
was anxious that Servia should be chastised. 
But he did not wish to risk a world-war. He 
was afraid of Russia, with her immense re- 
sources both in men and material. It was now 
that the long years of work accomplished by 
German diplomacy in Vienna bore fruit. 

Tchirsky, the German Ambassador, visited 
Count Berchtold. He showed him that Austria 
must go to war or lose her position as a Great 
Power in Europe. There would be a world- 
war, but it must come. Germany intended to go 
to Paris and St. Petersburg. This was an op- 
portunity such as might never come again. It 
was only the question of dealing with the old 
Emperor. If he knew the truth, he would never 
sign the mobilisation order. Why should he 
be consulted? He did not know of the Russian 
Note. Why not keep it back until the irrevoc- 
able decision had been taken ? 

Berchtold listened to the voice of the tempter 
and fell. He informed the Emperor that 
Europe would look on with folded hands while 
Servia was chastised for the assassination of the 
Archduke. This seemed very natural to the 


old autocrat. He was In residence at Ischl, as 
usual in summer-time, and had no opportunity 
of conversing with anyone who could have told 
him the truth about Russia. 

It is doubtful whether Berchtold was fully 
aware of the magnitude of the decision he had 
taken upon himself. He was fully aware that 
he was deceiving the Emperor, and excused his 
conduct by his conviction that the ruler was no 
longer capable of judging what was best for 
the country. He had been attacked by the 
Vienna Press for years. He was accused of 
feebleness and weakness by Count Tchirsky's 
organs ; now he would show strength and resolu- 
tion. As often happens with weak men, he 
showed it at the wrong time. 

When the news of war was announced in 
Vienna, the crowd immediately started for the 
Servian Legation. The Serbs, with great 
astuteness, had always chosen a legation that 
could not be looted or even damaged without 
the rest of the house being pulled down. They 
always took the quiet apartments at the back 
of one of the immense barrack-like houses that 
line the great streets in Vienna. Demonstra- 
tions had been made frequently in front of the 
Legation during the last few weeks, and the 
crowd reached the street to find it blocked by 
troops. It then turned towards the Embassy 


quarter. The Vienna police were well pre- 
pared. Several regiments of soldiers had been 
called out to assist them, and the Embassies 
being for the most part close together, it was 
easy to guard them. None the less, it was a 
stirring night. The procession divided into two 
streams. One went to the French Embassy, 
the other turned its steps towards the Russian 
and British Embassies. Neither Germany nor 
Austria-Hungary imagined for an instant that 
England would take part in the fight. They 
were convinced that she would consider it to 
her interest to remain neutral. The crowd, 
however, with a correct instinct, regarded Eng- 
land as an enemy. Three times the roughs 
broke through the cordon of guards and rushed 
upon the Embassy buildings, but were turned 
back by the military. Those in command had 
received very definite orders. The Embassies 
were to be protected at all costs. Later on the 
crowd wreaked its fury upon shops owned by 
Serbs. They were gutted in a few minutes, and 
no one interfered. The police even stood by 
and admired the good work. Serbs and Rus- 
sians were maltreated in the streets. Terrible 
incidents occurred. The police were to blame, 
for it would have been easy to interfere. Just 
as they had allowed the Mohammedans to 


plunder the Serbs and appropriate their belong- 
ings at Sarajevo after the assassination, so they 
permitted the same thing to be done in Vienna. 
A spirit was roused that will not be easy to 
quell. The bloodthirstiness of the mob is easily 
excited, but calming it is another matter, as the 
old despots in France learned to their cost. 
The latent quality of cruelty, which is hidden 
beneath the more obvious characteristics of the 
Viennese, was seen at its worst. Good-tempered 
toleration gave way to bestiality. That spirit 
of fair-play which habitually animates an Aus- 
trian crowd was replaced by a desire for other 
people's belongings. The truce between the 
members of the various races, kept for half a 
century, was over. German and Slav were at 
war. Racial hate flamed up. Passions that will 
take long to cool were excited. The great and 
tremendous struggle between the two great pre- 
dominating races in Eastern Europe, the Ger- 
mans and the Slavs, had begun. 



Next morning the jubilant feeling that had 
pervaded Vienna the night before was totally 
gone. A reaction had set in. Everyone realised 
that the war was not to be a punitive expedi- 
tion. It was a world-war. The telegram sent 
by Russia was published to the world, and Aus- 
tria waited with ill-concealed anxiety to know 
what England intended to do. Germany was 
convinced of England's neutrality; she was 
certain that Italy meant to go in with the two 
mighty Powers that were to sweep the Euro- 
pean chessboard with their mighty armies. 
Austria-Hungary was not so confident as Ger- 
many. She knew that Italy was a most uncer- 
tain factor. With dfplomatic cunning she had 
concealed what she knew of Italy's intentions 
from her ally. She had feared that Germany 
might not back her if she knew that the two 


Central Empires would be forced to stand 
alone. The Kaiser had always said that he 
must have a fleet in the Mediterranean at call 
before he began a world-war. If Italy stood 
by him, everything was easy. Italy now de- 
clared her neutrality. The Austrians expected 
this, and worse ; they said quite freely, " Now 
that Italy has the chance, she will turn upon 
us." Guilty consciences helped them to realise 
the truth. They had oppressed Italy for so 
long that they never even expected her to do 
anything but take advantage of the chance. 
Her statesmen were pessimists. They could 
never share Kaiser Wilhelm's optimism. They 
were aware that Austria had played the part of 
tyrant, and did not expect gratitude. Unaccus- 
tomed to keep treaties themselves, they did not 
expect other people to consider them as binding 
when a chance of doing better presented itself. 
Austria, with her cynicism, came much nearer 
the truth than Germany, who oppressed her 
Slav subjects and then expected them to join 
in the song of " Deutschland liber Alias " and 
to love the Fatherland. 

The Austrian politician, with a fineness of 
perception to which his German confrere is a 
stranger, understood that England wbuld go 
in with her allies. Germany argued, " It is 


Britain's interest to remain neutral, to capture 
the whole carrying-trade of Europe." The 
Austrian people hoped and believed that they 
might be right, but her politicians had a con- 
viction that Britain would not fall into Ger- 
many's carefully-spread toils. The Austrians 
also suspected that Britain knew more of Ger- 
many's aims than she acknowledged. They 
always complained that Britain was an unknown 
factor. No statesman laid his cards on the 
table as the Germans or as they themselves did. 

Yet, having no cause to detest Britain, they 
naturally understood her better than the Ger- 
mans, who were blinded by the bitterest hate. 

Meanwhile, European diplomacy was loth to 
believe that the last chance of peace was gone. 
Efforts were made to come to some agreement. 
These attempts to keep a peace that was already 
so seriously compromised were only forlorn 
hopes. It is just possible that, in spite of every- 
thing, they might have succeeded had it not 
been for various pieces of trickery. Germany, 
whose reputation for honesty still stood high, 
did not hesitate to stop important telegrams 
which were on their way to Austria. She had 
made such costly preparations for war that she 
considered that it would be inadvisable to with- 
draw now. Austria was allowed no chance of 


reconsidering her decision, although Germany- 
knew that it had been made upon false pre- 

The Viennese, now thoroughly frightened at 
the future, wished ardently for peace. The war 
for which they had clamoured turned out some- 
thing very different from what they had ex- 
pected. They would have to meet enemies on 
all sides; only the frontier towards Germany 
was safe. The city of Vienna was hastily 
fortified. It was no use taking chances. Huge 
mounds were thrown up on the immense March 
plain beyond the Danube, where many battles 
had been fought in the past. Meanwhile, the 
public took enormous interest in the negotia- 
tions which were still being carried on. Sir 
Edward Grey was the most popular man in 
the capital for several days. He had always 
succeeded in keeping peace before. Would he 
be able to do so again ? The reply soon came. 
Under similar circumstances he had been suc- 
cessful twice before because Germany was not 
ready. Now she had finished the last of her 
preparations, and did not wish for compromise. 

When the news came that Britain was to 
stand by Russia and France, there was a burst 
of rage throughout the country. So much had 
been hoped from her neutrality. " The Eng- 


lish were shopkeepers. Why had they not taken 
the opportunity that fate afforded them and 
become rich by supplying the belligerents with 
arms and provisions ? " asked the Austrians, who 
now said that Germany had deceived them with 
promises of Italian help and British indiffer- 

The British living in populous centres felt 
the sudden change of temperature. Instead of 
being the most popular among the foreigners, 
they were suddenly classed with the Italians. 
who were the most detested. This change 
affected people in various ways. Some stood 
firm and were merely amused at the sudden 
change; other Englishmen, middle-class gentle- 
men of pure race who had lived for half a life- 
time in Austria and Hungary, were hastily 
naturalised. This was hardly a matter for sur- 
prise. They knew that the goods of British 
subjects might be confiscated and their money 
forfeited. Having worked all their lives for a 
competency which they wished to enjoy in their 
old age, they were naturally loth to see it dis- 
appear before their eyes. In their newly- 
acquired zeal for Austria, however, they could 
not let the matter rest here. They wrote to the 
local papers saying that they renounced their 
country. They had always regretted their 

S 2 


nationality and had never been happy under 
the rule of their rightful King. The Austrians 
read these ebullitions with surprise. They said 
that they were sorry that these men had chosen 
to join their nation instead of another; they did 
not want such skunks. The Government then 
decided to ask all renegades of means to con- 
tribute handsomely to the Red Cross funds. 
Those who wished to remain in the country of 
their adoption must give a third of their capital 
to this object. The newly-made Austrians 
hurried off to the British consul, only to dis- 
cover that, by becoming naturalised, they had 
forfeited all right to the assistance usually 
given to British subjects. 

In seaports in Austria and Hungary other 
Englishmen denounced their friends and acted 
as spies in the service of the Austrian Govern- 
ment. They were men of means. Conduct 
that might be condoned, if not excused, in 
members of the poverty-stricken international 
colony, which knows no country and floats from 
capital to capital in search of a bare subsist- 
ence, was regarded as detestable in men of pure 
Anglo-Saxon nationality without the slightest 
admixture of foreign blood. 

The women, curiously enough, trusted to the 
Austrians and Hungarians to do them no ill. 


British diplomatists, fearing for the younger 
women, gave their last ready money to get them 
out before the declaration of war; but the Eng- 
lish girls were not impressed with the necessity 
of leaving. They were convinced that Austria 
did not intend to imperil her chance of future 
negotiation by ill-treating women and children. 

At the same time there was no show of love 
for the enemy. They preferred to lose all they 
possessed rather than to attempt to become 
naturalised. In the same way the British sports- 
men went almost to a man to concentration 
camps rather than toady to the enemy. These 
men were born in Austria-Hungary for the most 
part. Many came of families that were virtually 
Austrian, as they had lived generation after 
generation in the country. Some sporting in- 
stinct had prevented their grandfathers from 
taking out naturalisation papers. The same 
feeling stopped the grandsons from any truck- 
ling to the enemy. 

The most remarkable result of the war was 
perhaps the stripping off of all pretences. 
P'^ople who had always posed as being exces- 
sively rich suddenly confessed themselves to 
be paupers or to have lived beyond their means. 
Brave men became cowards ; and people whose 
courage had often been doubted were revealed 


as creatures of the old bulldog type. The 
diplomatist had a difficult time. The consuls 
dealt out passports by the hundred. Some- 
times, with a dozen girls all clamouring for 
their papers at once and literally hanging on 
to their coat-tails, they looked more like stage- 
managers surrounded by chorus girls than any- 
thing else. " My dear ladies, we are at war," 
a plaintive voice was heard. " You really must 
put down the age you look." ..." No, I 
don't doubt your word; I know you are only 
twenty-four, but at the frontier they will say the 
passport is stolen. . . . Forty-five now . . . 
yes, that is more like it." " No, it really can't 
be done. . . As I told the lady over there, 
you will have trouble when you want to cross. 
. . . We know you have had a wearing life, and 
are really much younger than you look . . . six 
children does take it out of one . . . yes, yes 
. . . fiftv-five will do." 


Austria's awakening 

" Entrance to these barracks is forbidden." 
Sentries stood there to enforce the new- 
regulation. What did it mean ? The steady 
tramping of troops had been heard all night. 
It was not the irregular tread of Austrians or 
Hungarians, who walk rather than march. The 
new troops kept step; they moved with the 
precision of machinery. In a wineshop round 
the corner from the barracks old Viennese 
burghers were sitting, and although it was only 
9 a.m. they were taking their mid-morning 
lunch. They ate their rye bread and salami, 
washed down by white wine from the vineyards 
on the mountains round the city, which rivalled 
champagne in taste. Slowly and deliberately 
they discussed recent events. Prussian troops 
had come on in the night. Vienna was under 
German rule. 



The Austrian troops were being hurried to 
the front. Some were going to Galicia, others 
towards Servia, and a third lot towards the 
Italian front. " No one knows what the Italians 
may do. ... If only we had kept on good 
terms with them, we could face the Germans to- 
day." " W^e must not grumble. It was a 
choice — either fall into the hands of the Ger- 
mans or be overwhelmed with Slavs." " I 
prefer the Germans," said a fair-haired burgher. 
" They are kinsmen at least." *' Not the Prus- 
sians. You don't know the Prussians. They 
are the last word in unscrupulousness." " Clever* 
they are, but without any of the finer feelings. 
Save us from the Prussians," said another. 
" The Slavs will prosper in spite of the war." 
** They are to be put into the front of the 
battle." "What will be the use of that? It is 
only one generation, and there are large fami- 
lies of children at home." " The Slav mothers 
will bring up their children to hate us for this. 
We shall have more enemies within our bor- 
ders." " The German children will die from 
want and neglect. Their mothers are accus- 
tomed to comfort, even to luxury; they cannot 
till the fields and bring in the crops. But the 
Slavs, who are used to poverty and hardship, will 
weather the storm." "Yes, you are right; that 


is all we shall gain from this war — a Slavonic 
Austria-Hungary overrun by Serbs and Croats, 
who will trade with our Czechs." " God save 
us from the Prussians ! " That was heard time 
and time again as the Austrians realised that 
the days of happy-go-lucky drifting were over 
for ever, and that all their affairs were handed 
over to the care of Prussians. The Austrian 
always shows great delicacy of feeling. He 
is not far behind the Frenchman in this. The 
German does not know the significance of the 
word. His dealings with Austrian officials, who 
were suddenly superseded by Germans, were 
on the mailed-fist principle. " The Prussian 
could not behave decently, even if he tried ! " 
"Trample upon the weak; fling the incapable 
into the street ! " These were the bitter remarks 
heard on all sides. 

The most imposing but saddest sight of all 
during the mobilisation was the arrival of the 
aged Emperor and his heir in Vienna. The 
old man, seated in an open carriage, although 
the heat was intense, stared at the vacancy in 
front of him. His lips were tightly closed. 
His heir, a stripling who looks much younger 
than his years, looked right and left. The 
crowd cheered and outdid itself in its expres- 
sions of loyalty. There was no joy in the voices 


of the people, but a lingering tone of regret. 
" Was this the last time that the Emperor would 
ride by in state ? " " Was his place to be taken 
by another? " 

The Vienna crowd, which had always been 
sullen and refused to cheer when Kaiser Wil- 
helm passed through the streets, had gauged 
events with perfect justice. The old man and 
the stripling — as they called the Archduke Carl 
Francis Joseph — were totally unfit to cope with 
the Kaiser. The Habsburgs would sink into 
a subordinate position and be nothing more 
than other German princes, once independent, 
who had sunk into subserviency to the Prus- 
sians. The people, with dim eyes, cheered 
again. The Emperor had always been popular. 
His general audiences, where he received all 
and sundry who had a good case to lay before 
him, his personal courage, which needed no 
proof, and other kingly qualities, always en- 
deared him to the crowd. After ordering the 
execution of large numbers of political criminals 
in the days of his youth and middle^ age, he 
sought to compensate for this in his old age by 
pardoning many criminals. He could not be 
induced to sign a death sentence. This mercy 
shown towards men who richly deserved death 
for their many crimes made him popular. The 


crowd saw no discrepancy in the acts of a sove- 
reign who would slay a hundred men who at- 
tempted to gain freedom for the country with- 
out scruple in his youth, and in fear of punish- 
ment after death, refused to permit wrongdoers 
to be executed as the time of his passing away 
grew nearer. They failed to understand the 
Emperor's motive. He hoped that Heaven 
would overlook his former crimes towards the 
subject-peoples if he could show a contra- 
account of deeds of mercy. 

Archduke Carl Francis Joseph wore an im- 
perturbable expression. No one could fathom 
the state of his mind. Was he merely thinking 
of his own private affairs, or was he concerned 
for the fate which hung over Austria-Hungary ? 
Who shall say? Did he prefer to live as a 
ruler without responsibilities, like the King of 
Saxony, to the toil of the life of a reigning 
monarch? So many of the Habsburgs have 
abdicated when the responsibilities of a throne 
have descended upon them, so many members 
of the Imperial family have left the pomp and 
splendour of the Court for a quiet life in retire- 
ment, that it is difficult to surmise what feelings 
filled the heart of the young man as he looked 
forwards to Armageddon. 

The Emperor's feelings were plain. He had 


always said, " Apres moi le deluge," but he 
realised that the deluge would not wait for his 
death. His reign, which had begun to the 
sound of battle and dire defeat, was to end to 
the death-song of the Empire. The sceptre 
that his ancestors had confided to him was 
slipping from his grasp. His adversaries had 
been too much for him. Kaiser Wilhelm had 
used methods which were not permitted even 
to politicians. He had broken faith with his 
ally. The Emperor, the keener man of the 
two, was too old, and had not suspected the 
depths of falsity under the mask of frank 
bonhomie. Kaiser Wilhelm had even deceived 
the Church, always the adviser and comforter 
of the old Emperor. 



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